MIA HÄGG PSYCHOLOGICAL MEETINGS LEARNING DEVELOPMENT PRESENCE OF MIND ONE STEP AHEAD A BRAIN CHECK KELLERMAN
ALIENATION STRETCHES THE BORDERS
NO 02 JUNE 2009 €15 / 165 SEK YOUR FIRST MEETINGS MANAGEMENT MAGAZINE ISSN 1651-9663
Welcome to meeting dest
Year after year, the smartest people in the world (yes, really) meet up in Stockholm. Admittedly, the prospect of collecting a Nobel Medal from the hands of His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf might have something to do with it. But then again, the Nobel Laureates are far from alone in finding Stockholm the perfect place for memorable meetings.
the perfect tination Mix one third architecture with one third green areas and one third sparkling blue water. What you end up with is – Stockholm. Built on 14 islands around one of Europe’s best-preserved mediaeval city centres, Stockholm is a sight to behold, positioned perfectly right where lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea. The capital of Scandinavia is known for its beauty, its clean air and water and its near-spotless finish. This is the result of the environment always being an important priority for Stockholm, and the region’s long-standing leader-
ship in pioneering environmental solutions. European Cities Monitor ranks Stockholm as the best capital city in terms of freedom from pollution and Stockholm’s emerging clean tech industry is well on its way to booming. Stockholm is the perfect place to go for businesses serious about Corporate Social Responsibility, sustainability and minimising environmental impact. Not to mention a breath of fresh air (literally) for people who have grown weary of overcrowded metropolitan areas elsewhere.
photo: nicho södling
Keeping it cool – Stockholm style When the Stockholm Waterfront is completed in 2010, Stockholm will receive a new and exciting congress hall. Among a whole host of innovative ecofeatures, is a system for cooling the property with the help of water from the nearby Klara canal.
The leading international meeting destination Stockholm can no longer lay claim to be a treasure waiting to be discovered. On the contrary, the number of visitors is increasing every year and Stockholm is fast becoming the top-of-mind name when it comes to well-organised, professionally executed and memorable meetings, congresses and incentive trips. A high standard of service, flexibility and technology pervades throughout Stockholm and the city is perfectly geared to handling meetings of all sizes. How many destinations can boast
6,000 hotel rooms within a five-minute walk of the central station? With a further 5,000 available within the city limits, just a short ride away by frequent and reliable public transport. And they all live up to the high standards visitors have come to expect from Sweden. A new global trendsetter In the words of Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft: “If you’re curious about new trends, just come and take a look at Sweden.” The Swedes’ reputation as early adopters has not gone unnoticed by the most trend sensitive global
photo: nicho södling
brands, and has turned Stockholm into the world’s favourite testing ground for new products. This development has slowly but surely made the pressure to come up with ever more trendy and stylish goods and services unrelenting in Stockholm. The result? Well, lets just say that if you love shopping, you’ll love Stockholm. The city offers more than 3,600 department stores, shops and boutiques – many of which are among the most extravagantly designed anywhere.
photo: clArion hotel sign
photo: White Arkitekter AB/JArl Asset MAnAgeMent AB
Scandinavia at its finest The brand new and spectacular Clarion Hotel Sign offers 558 double rooms furnished with Scandinavian design icons – right in downtown Stockholm.
Looking for the latest fashion? Or for that perfect gift? In Stockholm it’s all within walking distance.
Memories for life Having an archipelago of some 24,000 islands and skerries on your doorstep, not to mention vast tracts of unspoilt nature, makes for some spectacular adventure possibilities. And there’s nothing like a little adventure to make a trip truly unforgettable. How about navigating forest terrain and experiencing the beauty of cross-country racing just a short hop from the city? For even more highspeed thrills we recommend a ride in a hovercraft or a rigid inflatable speedboat, which is sure to take your breath away. Or perhaps you prefer to set sail? There are many ways to navigate the archipelago, either on your own or in guided groups. Choose from a range of vessels, from small sailboats to topsail schooners and yachts, or hire a kayak, a canoe or even a seaplane. You can hire a whole island exclusively for you and your group and get there by light aircraft, helicopter or boat – guaranteed to be a memorable
experience. Vaxholm, an 18th-century fortress, is another exciting venue for parties and receptions. If you prefer to stay on the water, sit back and enjoy the scenery on a leisurely lunch or evening cruise aboard a vintage steamer. In wintertime, nothing beats a day of long-distance ice skating on the mirror-smooth ice covering much of the archipelago. Easy to reach. So much harder to leave Getting to Stockholm is very convenient. Stockholm-Arlanda Airport – a thoroughly modern facility situated a mere 40 km north of the city centre – is within a few hours’ flight of most European cities. A high-speed train linking the city with the airport whisks you into downtown Stockholm a mere 20 minutes after touchdown. Once in town, almost everything is within easy reach in what has to be one of Europe’s most compact and cosiest capital cities. It’s safe and easy to get
Someone once called Stockholm the city where everyone can walk on water.
around, and most of the meeting facilities, hotels, cultural attractions, shops and restaurants (some 1500) are within 10-20 minutes’ walk of each other. Excellent value for money One of the few things that haven’t been on the up for Stockholm and Sweden over the past decade is the local currency, the Swedish crown. A weak crown is good news for overseas visitors though, making Stockholm a place where most things are reasonably priced. In a recent (March 2008) cost of living survey by Mercer, Stockholm got an index of 95.2, which is on par with Warsaw (95) and significantly cheaper than e g Moscow (142.2), London (125), Oslo (118.3) and Copenhagen (117.2). We’re here for you Stockholm Visitors Board is here to make things easier for you. We provide a free-of-charge service offering all the support you need to plan a successful meeting. If you want to know more about Stockholm and why people can’t help falling in love with it, send us a mail or give us a call – it could the beginning of a great relationship.
photo: henrik trygg
For Corperate Meetings: Meet Stockholm Tel +46 8 508 28 554 www.meetstockholm.se For Association Meetings: Congress Stockholm Tel + 46 8 508 28 553 www.congresstockholm.se
An outing in the picturesque Stockholm archipelago is one little adventure that you and your travel partners will never forget.
photo: chad ehlers
Jönköping - where meetings are made easy.
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Jönköping - where meetings are made easy. With our experience and skills in meetings and events, our great knowledge of the local hospitality industry, you are in safe hands when you schedule your meetings in Jönköping. One contact is all you need!
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Welcome! Convention Bureau +46 36 10 71 71 firstname.lastname@example.org www.jonkoping.se/conventionbureau
Together we create suc Elmia Meetings is everything you could wish for when you start thinking about arranging or taking part in a meeting, trade fair, conference, congress, corporate event or even a festival. At Elmia you have thousands of square metres at your disposal. Our team is a close-knit one and offers a high level of expertise. Through an open dialogue with you we create the shared confidence on which successful collaborations are built. Together we dare to think progressively and find different ways of creating successful meetings. To ensure success we use a tried and tested method. To this we can add 30 years of experience in the industry, a geographical location that’s hard to beat, and last but not least a quite unique infrastructure in Jönköping, Sweden. This gives us high hotel capacity, a wide range of peripheral activities and convenient transport options. We are fully equipped to meet your needs, whether your meeting involves two people or two thousand.
You choose the size – we impose no limits With a conference area that can hold over 2,000 people, exhibition space, conference rooms and general areas exceeding 30,000 square metres and more than 300,000 square metres of outdoor space, we see no limits to what we can achieve together.
We look forward to seeing you at Elmia!
Dreamhack – the world’s biggest LAN party – 5,000 computer experts online. One of our more spectacular events.
A well-executed meeting – large or small – effectively strengthens your brand.
Elmiaâ€™s restaurants jointly have capacity for 3,000 people.
Please contact us for further information: +46 (0)36-15 20 00 email@example.com www.elmia.se/meetings
Top-class entertainment. Dancing or a concert? You decide, weâ€™ll arrange it.
Let us help you unlock the potential of your event in our city
TABLE OF CONTENTS | 13
No 2 LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE EDITOR IN CHIEF
Atti Soenarso firstname.lastname@example.org
IKEA WORKS WITH
HOW TO MAKE YOUR COMPANY EXCEPTIONAL.
TWELVE TRENDS THAT DEVELOP
PRESENCE OF MIND
A BRAIN CHECK:
CREATE THE DAVOS OF THE MEETINGS
Roger Kellerman email@example.com ART DIRECTOR
Rasmus Kellerman www.rasmuskellerman.com
Alienation stretches the borders In defence of the group
Dennis Brice firstname.lastname@example.org WRITERS
Tomas Dalström + Fredrik Emdén + Hans Gordon Per Hörberg + Johan Johansson + Lars Lövgren Roger Kellerman + Atti Soenarso PHOTOGRAPHERS
Sara Appelgren + Pär Hugo Kjellén + Karin Dahl EDITORIAL RAYS OF SUNSHINE
Bimo Soenarso + Bess + Trolla + Messi + Giggs + Ronaldo
learning development Greta Kotler has the answer
Too many rooms create unease
Trydells Tryckeri, Laholm, Sweden EDITORIAL OFFICE
Meetings International PO Box 224 SE-271 25 Ystad Sweden Editorial Office + 46 8 612 42 20 Commercial Office: + 46 612 42 96 Fax: + 46 8 612 42 80 email@example.com
the meetings and event industry explains the meaning of Humanomics uses the meeting as the main media
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has its advantages become friends with your brain industry, challenges Kellerman
Munken Lynx 240 gr / 100 gr by Arctic Paper. We do not take responsibility for non-ordered material. Meetings International is stored electronically and is normally made available on the internet. Reservations against this policy must be made in advance. The reprinting of articles and other material, whole or in part, is forbidden without prior consent of the publishers. Quotes, on the other hand, are encouraged as long as the source is named. The Swedish Audit Bureau of Circulations. Member of the International Federation of Audit Bureaux of Circulations, IFABC. Meetings International is a member of MPI and SITE.
2009 No 2 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
It´s all about you and your personality. Choose among our wide range of hotels. Choice Hotels Scandinavia has more than 160 hotels in the Nordic and Baltic Region divided into 5 unique brands. Clarion, Quality, Comfort, Quality Resort and Clarion Collection – It´s your Choice!
Want to learn more? www.choice.se or firstname.lastname@example.org
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EDITORIAL | 15
in january we had the oppor-
tunity to take part in the INCON Congress in Istanbul. We had the great honour of meeting Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay who, during the evening’s speech, proved to possess the kind of knowledge seldom seen in northern politicians with regard to the meetings and event industry, or tourism from a broader perspective. It felt liberating to listen to a politician from a country with a population of 80 million openly disclose what they have planned for the meetings industry up to 2023. The country has many development projects underway in several areas, including scientific and technological development. Istanbul’s 55,000 hotel rooms are naturally a strong factor. As far as we know, Turkey is the only country in the world building a Congress Valley in the centre of the capital city where other countries usually build clusters for other industries. The new facilities are of the highest quality with regard to hardware, thereafter the opportunity for the modern service industry to build brands surrounding service management. That Turkey is also going from three large congress towns to seven in the coming years with the same frenzy and the aim of becoming fifth best in the world does not sound at all impossible in our ears. If they begin to calculate the socio-economic significance of the meetings and event industry like they do in Canada and collaborate and sell like they do in Denmark and Sweden, Turkey could become a pioneer.
A new congress centre is being built adjacent to an existing congress complex. 800 men are working three shifts, seven days a week to get the building ready for the summer, a few weeks prior to a large international finance meeting. Not far away another three large congress halls are being built, one for roughly 3,000 people, two for 1,000 people each, three for 300 each as well as a number of break-out rooms for several parallel meetings. Onur Gözet, from the same ministry as Ertuğrul Günay, spoke on the theme and showed that 30 per cent of Turkey’s tourism income already derives from congresses. Antalya and Ankara are two other vital congress cities. The country is now investing in promoting Izmir, Konya, Bursa and Mersin to the premier league of congress towns. The next step is naturally a rapidly expanding MPI Chapter, multiple membership in ICCA and AIPC, and trainings within IAPCO. Also keep one eye on Qatar. Everybody knows about Dubai, but there are now a number of other countries ready and waiting to challenge old Europe in the meetings and event sphere. Denmark witnessed a sudden increase in competition and acted immediately by forming more strategic alliances. And China and India have not quite entered the international fray. But in ten years time? Twenty? If we look at where the technological and scientific seats will be in 2023 we will see where a large number of congresses, conferences and events will take place. π
Swedish-Indonesian atti soenarso has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. She has worked for Scandinavia’s largest daily newspaper, was TV4’s first travel editor, has written for many Swedish travel magazines and has had several international clients. She has travelled the length and breadth of the world and written about destinations, people and meetings.
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“i love being a foreigner.
Mia Hägg is a 38-year-old architect living in Paris. In her first ten years as an architect she has worked with three Pritzker Prize winners, architecture’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize: Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron and Jean Nouvel. For the past two years Mia Hägg has had her own architect office in HA: Habitatautrement in Paris, with ten employees. They are working on a 36 hectare development plan for 2,000 affordable houses in Toledo, five housing projects in Bordeaux, Ordos100 in Inner Mongolia and apartments in the longest building in Paris, a 600-metre long warehouse. “We collaborate with other
Tomas Dalström Exclusion means I can stretch the limits to get what I want. If you only live in one country you easily become a prisoner to the system. As a foreigner you’re not weighed down by convention in the same way, which gives greater freedom. If I’d know everything that our partner in Beijing knew, and felt weighed down by, we would never have been able to implement our plans when building the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium. Furthermore, if we’d have know all the limitations, we would never have achieved the same result in the Toledo project in Spain. It would never have been as new and fresh.” MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 2 2009
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architect offices on certain projects, others we do alone. I like the idea of working with a core of people at the office and collaborating with others when need be.” Becoming an architect was never a done deal. She went through a difficult period in her teens with a good deal of brooding and doubt, but also searching. Before plummeting into an architectural career she opted out of high school and worked as a freelance writer, bartender, confectioner’s assistant and cleaner before taking her high school grades at night school followed by German and the History of Ideas for a year at Umeå University in northern Sweden. In 1991 Mia Hägg moved to Gothenburg to study architecture at Chalmers University of Technology and year later she found herself in Paris studying French. “I was very irritated over missing French at school, but at 21 I was motivated and managed the whole basic grammar in three months. Looking back I can see that I’ve missed a few trains, but I’ve learnt that even if you miss one train, another comes along to take you to your goal, albeit in a roundabout way.” She returned to Gothenburg and Chalmers, then back to Paris with a scholarship to study at an architect school in Belleville where she completed her degree. “It was a very strict school that I tired of so I left and in 1997 I applied
for a job at Jean Novel, one of the world’s most sought after architects, and stayed there for three and a half years. “While at Jean Novel I worked on a skyscraper in Tokyo and became fascinated in Tokyo as a town; the urban landscape and the differences in our towns. I applied for a new scholarship and spent almost a year there. “Coming to a new place as a complete ignoramus who couldn’t read or communicate was an interest experience. It felt like a protective shell, a pleasant feeling, rather like living in an aquarium. I peered through the glass and investigated things I didn’t really understand. I filmed, took photos, visited architect’s offices and wrote, and finally took my degree.” After this Mia Hägg moved to Basel in Switzerland where she worked at Herzog & de Meuron on the world’s largest mosque in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The competition for the Olympic Stadium in Beijing was then announced and became her next project. “I was involved from the outset sketching outlines. It was an enormous building: 320 metres long, 69 metres wide with a 91,000 capacity.” Mia Hägg lived in Beijing for two years. She led the office as Design Project Manager, which put her in charge of architectural issues. Herzog & de Meuron had teams in
both Basel and Beijing so she worked parallel, travelling to Basel on a regular basis. “I think one of my strengths is my ability to coordinate and communicate. This is not common among architects but it is specific for people who work on large projects. You have to know when to ask somebody, bring together two groups, ask for help, negotiate, lie low, produce a lot, etc. “The years at Herzog & de Meuron and Jean Novel were enriching and vital for me. I didn’t think about it at the time, but in retrospect it feels like I travelled and served an apprenticeship just like the ancient architects. They were my learning years. We were encouraged to travel. I consider this as fundamental when I think of all the frames of reference I would have attained if I had begun at an office at once while at Chalmers. This has suited me down to the ground. I don’t mean to generalise as I also believe that men like Emanuel Kant can sit in Köningsberg without travelling and still create an enormous inner world that is just as rich. But for me it would have meant not having the tools I have today, or the in-depth knowledge of contemporary urban conditions. “Seeing how Jean Novel works was very interesting. He creates a story and a scenario for himself that is incredibly detailed. He has the entire project in his head before he even begins drawing. He’s a struc-
“Each project is a story, a script. All those involved must understand the project’s fundamental ideas, the main thread.” 2009 No 2 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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turalist who sees the importance of formulating and arguing his way through a project. You have to make an in-depth analysis and know why you are doing something before you do it.” Mia Hägg considers internal meetings as fundamental in the development of all projects. She begin all new projects with intensive brainstorming meetings in which consultants take part. This is often a motley, multidisciplinary group consisting of structural and environmental engineers, traffic planners, landscape architects, sociologists, MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 2 2009
”When I finished my teacher said “Mademoiselle, you have not understood one thing about the task.” I’d only ever received door handle criticism all my life and now I was standing there.”
artists and economists, depending of course on the size and character of the project. “We formulate a vision, a core value or essence if you llike. The formulating comes before the visualisation. It’s through dialogue, collaboration and communication that a project emerges. Each project is a story, a script. All those involved must understand the project’s fundamental ideas, the main thread.” We return to China. Mia Hägg says it was a tough negotiating climate and very aggressive at the beginning. When Herzog & de
SIDRUBBE | 23
Meuron won the competition in 2003 she travelled to Beijing and went through six months of arduous negotiations in which it was obvious that the Chinese saw no advantages in working with a foreign architect’s office. “We were really on the way out and I felt that we would probably not come to an agreement. It’s fascinating to look back at situations in life that stand out as completely deadlocked and unreasonable. “I think the key to us getting the contract was that we managed to create trust and that we formulated and
agreed on a common goal, a vision, that everybody could strive towards. I think one has to fall in love with a project. Another explanation is that the building is timeless and that it relates something to the people of Beijing, who adopted it as the Bird’s Nest. We mentioned in our application that the steel structure would give the arena the shape of a bird’s nest. The shape came up several times during the course of events and the name stuck.” A design consortium was set up to implement the project comprising of her employer Herzog & de
Meuron, the local architect and engineering office CAG, and the international engineering company Arup. They collaborated with Arup’s offices in Manchester, London, Hong Kong and Beijing. The customers, who comprised of the state-owned company BSAM and the private investment CITIC Group, formed the National Stadium Co Ltd. In their turn they employed French Vinci/Bouygues as project management consultants. As well as these partners, Mia Hägg also worked very closely with the Chinese Olympic Committee (BOCOG). 2009 No 2 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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“It was a truly international project. My employer alone had 20 different nationalities on the payroll.” Mia Hägg thinks it is amazing that Herzog & de Meuron managed to retain the fundamental concept despite all the drawbacks, the financial pressure and the fact that it had to be completed in such a short time. “In China I had meetings with the customer and/or authorities a couple of times a week. I met the design consortium, of which we were a part of, at least once a week and I held daily update meetings at the office. Today half my time is spent at meetings, most informal, internal work meetings and brainstorming and such like. I don’t think it’s that common in the architectural sector to specify the cost of meetings so I don’t know how much the meetings cost, here or in China.” What’s the difference between a meeting in China and one in Sweden? “The meetings with public authorities are often very formal with a strict agenda. It’s a long table with many delegates from different bodies. The addresses are long and you must never interrupt no matter how much you do not agree or how provocative it may seem. It’s a culture of reasoning. A must be allowed to finish before B can reply. B must not be interrupted either, and so on... “I don’t wish to generalise because I have limited experience, but I find they’re forthright and tough in China, as opposed to Japan where they tend to wrap criticism in cotton wool a bit more. When we presented a solution in Japan and asked if it was okay, they answered yes, but it could be very difficult, which means impossible, forget it. “But regardless of which country you’re in, it’s always about getting good basic contact; that’s the secret. We’re the same everywhere and have MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 2 2009
the same basic needs. The core of all communication is in trusting each other and communicating. After we’d signed the contract in China following six months of tough negotiations, the atmosphere lightened up and things became friendlier and more trustworthy.” Mia Hägg did not think that language was a great problem; architects communicate through documents that are tangible and override the language barrier. She also worked with a local architect partner, which made communication easier. “When there was no interpreter available I was forced to communicate at basic level, like floor and ceiling. But there were misunderstandings that I knew nothing about that just passed me by.” How is it to work in a man’s dominated sector in a country that is more hierarchal? “Japan and China both have hierarchical and man’s dominated environments, but I’ve never felt that to be a problem. In fact, I think being the only woman has been to my advantage. I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty and make demands. I find it easy to cooperate with men and women alike.” How was it to come to France as a Swede? “In France you’re allowed to get angry and discussions are usually to the point. The difference is there is no embarrassing atmosphere afterwards. You can leave the meeting knowing that the others are not mulling over what happened either. That’s liberating. When I studied in Sweden the criticism was more wrapped in cotton wool. When somebody wanted to offer criticism they’d say nothing, and more nothing before finally saying “The door handle isn’t that bad”, which you have to interpret as meaning that the whole
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“Coming to a new place as a complete ignoramus who couldn’t read or communicate was an interest experience.”
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During her first ten years as an architect, Mia Hägg worked with three Pritzker Prize winners, architecture’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
project is poor, so the only thing we can comment on is the door handle. “But the French way of discussing was not easy to adapt to at the beginning. When I studied architecture in Paris in 1992 we had a special project to present. Five teachers sat in front of me and 100 students behind me. When I finished my teacher said “Mademoiselle, you have not understood one thing about the task.” I’d only ever received door handle criticism all my life and now I was standing there. Nobody had ever said that to me before. How terrible, what shall I do and where shall I go? But at the same time it was an excellent experience. You have to learn to take criticism in the right way, but you don’t need to agree. I prefer that type of forthright communication to attempts to be kind, which can be even more devastating. Indirect criticism can often be more hurtful than direct criticism. “Another difference is they’re not so absorbed in gender roles in France. But on the other hand it’s more sexist compared to Sweden. It was liberating to see that women were not expected to focus on a certain type of architecture or keep to “softer” issues.” At her first job, Mia Hägg had a woman head architect Françoise Raynaud as instructor and mentor. “She was forthright and tough. It was very inspiring to work together with a woman involved in such large projects. At Chalmers the large projects were guy projects. My main project during this time was a 200-metre tall skyscraper in Japan for the Dentsu communications company. Forthright communication also has other benefits. Mistakes cost time and money.” π
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Group Defence Mechanisms TEXT
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hans gordon, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Authorised Psychologist, specialised in Aviation Psychology. Authorised psychotherapist, since 1987 running Gordon Consulting Ltd. Has for decades been engaged by airline companies, among them SAS and Thai Airways International.
“In order to understand how a group functions we have to see it as an independent organism with a soul, a group soul that acts according to rules that are subconscious for group members. It is these never-acknowledged norms that have the power.” From the Eleventh Conspiracy by ann and marianne fredriksson
a deafening silence hung over
the cinema auditorium. I was young and thirsted after knowledge of man’s strengths and shortcomings. I was deeply moved by the film. One person dared to question what the other eleven took for granted. The eleven wanted the process out of the way so they could go home. It was hot and sweaty in the closed room and it was an open and shut case, nothing to discuss. It was obvious that the 18-year-old, who was also from the slum and had Latin American blood, was guilty. It was him and nobody else who had killed the father. Case closed. But the twelfth jury member went against the grain. There was
reasonable doubt. The decision must be unanimous. The twelfth member refused to give in to group pressure. Stubbornly he held on to his doubt and argued his case. To find out the outcome you will have to see 12 Angry Men filmed in 1957 by debut producer Sidney Lumet with Henry Fonda in the main role. The film was based on a play by Reginald Rose and is an all-time classic. American social psychologist Irving Janis came into the public eye in the 1960s with his studies on how people are affected by scaremongering propaganda. In the early 1980s he refined his analytical investigations through powerful events in the
USA and other parts of the world in a book he entitled Groupthink. Primarily, he attempted to put his finger on how President John F Kennedy, his administration and military staff could even consider the fruitless attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro as a means of crushing the Communist Party. The year was 1961 and the Bay of Pigs intermezzo ended in total fiasco, something that should, and could, have been foreseen by more moderate analysts. Emanating from this event, Irving Janis describes typical examples of how many groups create illusions of grandeur that are underpinned by an exaggerated devaluation of others. This could lead to group members going out on a limb to take completely unrealistic risks. The group is thus a production workshop of delusions with accompanying actions. How normal is this? Very normal. At time of writing we find ourselves in the midst of a financial crisis that was provoked by banks and other loan institutions gradually raising their risk stakes. They generously lent money that they did not possess. The opportunity for a quick profit became an insatiable craving far 2009 No 2 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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removed from common sense and rational considerations. Money rules! When the house of cards began to tumble they panicked, and group mass hysteria spread like wildfire and got the whole world shaking. In order to really understand this we have to bring in the word angst. Angst is a description of an often undefined fear. That it is undefined has to do with it not relating to anything we consider to be tangible or clearly dangerous. If we get lost in the woods while picking mushrooms we could gradually begin to feel a justifiable fear. If our car skids and we slide sideways towards the oncoming traffic we feel fear. If we are subjected to a brutal assault by somebody who obviously wants to hurt us we are gripped by panic. These types of feelings should not be associated with angst. Angst can come over us when we least expect it. It can come during the hour of the wolf or when we open the front door and step out into the street on an ordinary sunny day, or when cooking dinner. Suddenly, or gradually, we feel anxiety that rises and rises, and the body reacts with adrenaline secretion and a quicker pulse and the hair on our arms, the remains of our animal fur, begins to rise. You look around but there is nothing out of the ordinary. You listen for sounds but hear nothing special. The brain begins to work overtime processing the information that the body is generating. Is offers suggestions. Something could be happening, out there. You consider putting on the radio in case something serious has happened. Perhaps you should call your parents or children or somebody else close to you. Something could have happened. But nothing has. Everything is as
normal. But is it? You have suddenly or gradually begun to feel angst. Where does it come from? What is its source? The source is everywhere. It namely consists of all that has accumulated that we have not understood and which we have therefore not structured and stored in our memory. What we do not understand is that we have experienced several, large and small, often greatly charged antagonisms that have pursued conflict, not externally and clear, but internally and unclear. Life is full of these complicated, contrasting experiences. And you are part of it every time. No? You do not recognise it? That is because you, like most people around you, use a rapid, powerful and mental defence mechanism. You suppress it, rearrange it, explain it away, deny it, do everything in your power to get an experience that is less complicated and which does not generate such inner turbulence. Often, we flee back into our life history and search for someone or something we hope will free us or give us comfort. In psychology language this is called regression. The source of your angst and your defence mechanism against it belongs to your subconscious so you will naturally not recognise it. The mental defences that you as an individual uses are also used by groups, in most cases in strengthened form. It is from this perspective that we should view Janis’s research and the term groupthink. Groupthink stands for the group’s deviations from the rational, the translucent, the well thought-out, where the group members together produce fantasies, exaggerated, sometimes megalomaniac, sometimes under-
stated, carping self-pity. Sometimes the group can rise up, flex its muscles and exert its invincibility only to do the opposite in other situations, where it claims to know nothing and should therefore qualify for great, mostly financial, support from Granny State. Sometimes the group’s groupthink pulls all the members onto the sofa where they make clear that they cannot manage anymore or do not have time, especially for anything extra, only to in the next breath accelerate to pole position in a sudden perceived fist come, first served competitive situation. Groups can in this way swing from an almost omnipotent activity to a more depressive phase and then up and it again. All this bears the hallmark of most small or somewhat older children, and groups can develop the exact same patterns. Many times it puts a regressive defence up against a group’s inherent angst, which in its turn relates to the group and its members being, or having been, subjected to a great deal of more or less subconscious conflicts and friction. But enough of this, we can’t sit in this stuffy room for ever. The boy is obviously guilty! Can we agree on that? Shall we say so? Is anybody against? The majority agree. Some look down at the table. The sun is blazing down outside the window. Somebody says he’s going to take a beer after this. Can we make a decision? But then that stubborn devil says he can’t go along with that. He wants to go another round, take another look at everything that is against the kid and everything in his favour.. In the film he becomes the hero. In the reality you live in, who are you? π
“In order to really understand this we have to bring in the word angst.” MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 2 2009
Formgiveriet Foto: Danish Saroee
Uppsala â€“ the meeting point of modern Sweden Even before the Viking Age Uppsala was already an important meeting point; local chieftains gathered here on a regular basis to select their kings, to conduct trade, and to settle legal disputes. Uppsala Cathedral, the traditional seat of the archbishop of Uppsala and the Primate of the Church of Sweden, hovers impressively over the city skyline as a reminder that Uppsala has also retained its position as a national religious centre down through the ages. Behind its impressive historical faĂ§ade, including many sites associated with the renowned botanist and father of modern taxonomy, Carl Linnaeus, you
will find a city still intensely engaged in science and research through its two universities with their 40,000 students and researchers. This creates a good base for dynamic life science and informationtechnology industries. We hope that you will find what you are looking for in Uppsala and, just as important, that you enjoy your stay with us. Charlotte Ullberg Market Director MIC Uppsala Convention Bureau firstname.lastname@example.org www.uppsalaconventionbureau.se
Uppsala. Meetings. Every day since 1286.
32 | RADAR
FLAVOUR OF THE WEEK:
MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 2 2009
the dynamic north eastern
corner of Paris is hive of activity. In September, the Mama Shelter Hotel opened in what was previously a graffiti-clad multi-storey car park at 109 Rue de Bagnolet. Philippe Starck designed the interior fittings for the hotel, which boasts 172 rooms. The guests’ common areas are pioneering and a mixture of styles. The concept is based on the hotel together with the guests being the actual experience. Here it is possible, for example, to meet Japanese painters, American poets and South American authors.
Mama Shelter is a philosophy. We want to attract different types of guests, bring people together who will probably never meet again. This is also why so many can afford our room prices,” explains Serge Trigano, one of the owners of the project together with Philosopher Cyril Aouizerate and renowned French Architect Roland Castro. All rooms have a kitchenette, a CD and DVD player and an iMac with a free internet connection. Mama Shelter is definitely value for money. A double room from €79. π www.mamashelter.com
Formgiveriet Foto: Danish Saroee
Uppsala â€“ truly different! The city of Uppsala provides a unique blend of history, science, tradition and culture, a feature that is hard to find in any one city in the world. Uppsala provides most modern comfort, ambience, tranquillity and vibrant life (all in one) needed for a perfect international gathering to enjoy. The visitor can see all magnificent buildings, academic institutions, a piece of history, museums, nice gardens, shopping malls and restaurants within just walking distance. This is a unique feature that is lacking in most cities across the world. Having a meeting of international status here enhances the reputation of
our University, Institutions and exposes our delegates to local industries. The curtsey, behaviour and attitude of local people towards our international guests are superb and their language is very polite. This is a feature that is very important for international delegates as everyone will feel that they are welcome in this city. Hari Shanker Sharma Ph D (BHU); Dr Med Sci (UU) Docent in Anatomy (Neuroanatomy, UU) Professor of Neurobiology (MRC) email@example.com www.uppsalaconventionbureau.se
Uppsala. Meetings. Every day since 1286.
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STUDY MEETINGS AND EVENT MANAGEMENT
in Copenhagen on september 1st the Copenha-
gen Business School (CBS) will be receiving its first students on a 2-year masters course in Service Management with the focus on business travel and the meeting and events industry. The masters is available in four different fields: Meetings and Event Management, Travel Management, Tourism and Trade. Behind the course is the Danish Ministry of Education, who estimates between 50 and 70 students for the start of term. University studies are fulltime and free of charge. Two years ago, Ole Sorang, Nordic Marketing Director at the Rezidor Hotel Group, heard about the Business Meetings Management course at Dalarna University College in Sweden. He was inspired and very impressed by the curriculum. Since then Ole Sorang has been actively involved in getting MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 2 2009
the course in Copenhagen off the ground. He has also secured sponsorship deals to the tune of SEK 1,350,000 kronor, of which 350,000 is earmarked for flying in the best teachers in the world wherever they are. The first year is divided into four blocks: Research Methods, Data Management and Forecasting + Globalisation and Intercultural Perspectives. The second block is Organisation and Human Resource Management in Services + eBusiness and Communication Management in Services. The third block: Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility in Services + Marketing, Events and Innovation Management. The fourth block: Leadership and Strategy in Service Management + Finance and Law. The second year is half dedicated to post-graduation specialities, for
example, Meetings & Event Manager within the business sector or in organisations involved in the global meetings industry. Students must also write a paper beginning during the third term and which qualifies for as many points as a whole year’s studies. An advisory board has been set up with members from airline companies, conference companies, travel agencies and professional congress companies. They are also committed to the course. “I’m extremely proud that a concept I had two years ago has actually become a reality,” says Ole Sorang. “I’m also grateful for the extra attention afforded the meetings industry and the knock-on effect of attracting even more talent to our sector. The course naturally contributes to raising the professional level of the Danish meetings industry.” π
Uppsala – a big city with small town charm Spend time in a dynamic setting that hosts a wide range of interesting activities. Once the centre of the ancient Svea kingdom, Uppsala continues to inspire writers, artists, and scientists. Today’s Uppsala, with its 195,000 inhabitants, Sweden’s fourth largest city. Although located close to the heart of Sweden, 40 minutes from Stockholm and 17 minutes from Arlanda International Airport, Uppsala has managed to retain its small town charm, all the while offering a big city’s selection of shops, restaurants, and things to do.
Unique cultural treasures and an exciting history are literally right around every corner. Visit an environment steeped in both tradition and the latest research. Welcome to the Swedish Soaring Championship hosted by Segelflygarna Uppsala Flygklubb, 7-14 June 2009. www.uppsalafk.com/segel
Odd Wikner Segelflygarna Uppsala Flygklubb firstname.lastname@example.org www.uppsalaconventionbureau.se
Uppsala. Meetings. Every day since 1286.
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Fredrik EmdĂŠn PHOTOS
MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 2 2009
first some figures. Ikea has
a workforce of 127,800, 90,000 of whom work in Europe. At the latest count there are 270 stores throughout the world with 20 new stores opening every year. The stores attract more that 560 million visitors a year who, in all probability, have leafed through some of the 190 million catalogues that the company prints every year. And they shop for close on â‚Ź20 billion a year. Any questions? When Curt Temin presents these figures for the delegates at a seminar they react in much the same way as they did when, with a smile on his face, he asked how many did not have an Ikea product in their home. For it is just
as difficult to imagine a European home without Ikea furniture as it is to understand the above-mentioned particulars. One thing does however shine through these glaring figures: they put the Group in a situation that is not disagreeable as such, but which does have its complications, in as much as one of the greatest challenges lies in attracting, retaining and skills-enhancing a workforce. Sales double every fifth year, but this does not necessarily mean a doubling of staff, but this can be sidestepped with a good skills enhance-
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“They describe what they need to know rather than you telling them what they should learn.”
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ment programme. This is what Curt Temin, who works globally with learning and development within Group Purchasing and Distribution, has been invited to speak about. “We cannot afford to wait when seeking staff,” he tells his audience. Ikea is a company that puts people first. It is just as important for the staff to share the company’s values as it is to have the relevant skills. This is why job vacancy ads always begin with the values that the prospective post holder is expected to have, followed by the skills required. This is also why they refer to their managers as people leaders. “Together we build Ikea. Every company says something similar, but we actually do it. We aim for all employees to be suitably skilled for the job they do and to feel successful and approved in their role. Creating a meeting place for employees is just as important as arranging a meeting with a customer, as is spreading know-how in meetings with others by sharing knowledge and experience. This is why the company sees skills enhancement as Learning and Development.” After the seminar Curt Temin discusses his thoughts at greater length. From a meetings perspective the learning and development concept entails more informal meetings and fewer larger sittings. “That’s how I would put it, yes. In the future, training will be carried out in the employee workplace. This means that most development activities will take place locally. For some purposes people have to meet to discuss and this is where the personal meeting comes in. We have several management development programmes in which we regard the personal meeting between individuals as vital in the transfer of knowledge.”
Curt Temin began at the furniture company in 1990 when the purchasing organisation became global. He was recruited to develop the training platform that now goes under the name of The Ikea Learning Centre. “In order to retain our purchasing procedures abroad, uniformity was vital in maintaining the quality and low prices that attract suppliers. This is where the training platform came in,” explains Curt Temin. Curt Temin has dedicated his entire life to educational activities. Before he came to the Group he worked for the Swedish Armed Forces, where he was an officer within the field of behavioural sciences. Even here he worked with leadership skills. “Within the armed forces I was involved in my own development as brigade commander at the same time as I had a training and management role.” In the early 1990s Curt Temin began working in Ikea Purchasing where he built up a similar training programme for the store. The concept would soon be manualised to look the same all over the world. “We used the manuals to create a learning programme based on their content. We put together training programmes for store management teams that they would go back and implement with their employees.” Since then he has served as Human Resources Manager for parts of the organisation in southern Europe and has lived in the Netherlands and Switzerland. Curt Temin is currently stationed in Älmhult in Sweden where the Ikea headquarters are located. Within the company Curt Temin has endeavoured to create an environment for growth based on the notion that good people can be even better. From this philosophy came the Skills Escalator, which was introduced seven years ago. 2009 No 2 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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The Skills Escalator comprises of four steps where the employee begins as a trainee before stepping into their intended role. At the third step the person becomes a senior with the task of influencing and coaching others in their specialist role. The final step is master, which means that the employee has become an expert and mentor. Nobody is employed solely for one role but to take up a senior position in the long term. The idea is for everybody to progress in order to teach others, which means that nobody is a trainee for longer than a year. Each employee has a skills profile based on the part of the organisation in which their skills are needed along with their purpose and goals. “When setting up these skills profiles we also look into what is required to build up particular skills. This entails a number of activities, either digital or physical. As time goes on the employee slowly progresses while working. They see the task at hand, the skills required, how to attain them while working and then receive feedback. They are also challenged by a coach who gives them a number of leading questions. The coach doesn’t tell the employee what to do but helps them seek the answer themselves.” The Skills Escalator always gives the employee access to a higher skills level than the level they are at. “But the support has to be selfregulatory to allow them to formulate their own skills needs. They have a learning contract that emanates from their role and formulated together with their manager. With it they seek the various resources or activities because they’re aware of the goal and what they want to learn. They’ve received help to find support and resources and they know exactly what to deliver as proof of their knowledge. Their skills goals are set MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 2 2009
against the business goals. They describe what they need to know rather than you telling them what they should learn. This gives them control over their own development. It’s easy for you to tell them what they need to know, but then they wonder why they need to know that particular thing because they haven’t identified the need themselves.” Curt Temin regards networking as the ultimate tool for personal development. During their induction, an employee is given access to a local network. Every time the employee communicates with others they form new networks. “The meeting takes place when I have a need for knowledge or a skill. I then need access to a network, which I could have procured through meeting people, or by seeing who has the skills I’m seeking in an internal network so that I know where to turn. It is within those networks that a large part of the personal development takes place because the demand to deliver something also entails skills enhancement. I think a lot more can be done in this area. “Today there are many forms of virtual meetings, not least digital learning. But a lot depends on you as an individual. We still don’t use the internet enough to share knowledge on chat boards and similar. I think a lot will happen in that particular area.” One of the most important meetings within the company is the ancient Swedish tradition of “fika” (coffee break). “Fika” is a well known word in the Ikea world. “It’s one of the first things a new employee learns. For me it’s a meeting between people that offers the opportunity for sharing knowledge and experience. It’s important that people meet the whole time, not just work-related but in other contexts as well. This is where a great deal of
“One basic prerequisite for learning is reflection and creating space for reflection during the meeting. ”
development takes place. Travelling together entails the same sorts of meetings and knowledge transfer.” Do you have a meetings policy? “We’re in the process of forming one. It embraces everything from electronic aids to travelling and is in the process of being documented. For cost and environmental reasons we’re heading towards only travelling when absolutely necessary. We’re creating more virtual meetings and acquiring the technical aids for doing so. It’s all about communicating electronically by telephone or video. A lot is happening, particularly with regard to transferring documents in the virtual meeting. As a company we’re not seeking to invest in high technology but simpler, low technology solutions. Our technol-
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ogy is not applicable everywhere in the world so we need simple aids to enable us to talk to somebody far away. The technology is not yet 100 per cent.” What do your meetings look like? “They are becoming more and more electronic. On the other hand, I have a number of large programmes in which the personal meeting plays a major part. Many of the sub-meetings can be virtual, but I think we need meeting places before we can go over to electronic meetings only. Personally I think the electronic meeting is effective when well prepared, but it doesn’t give as much as the personal meeting and all that surrounds it. There are lots of things surrounding a meeting that add quality to the development and learning.” When teaching or holding seminars Curt Temin prefers to integrate with the participants by holding a dialogue rather than just lecturing. “All people are different, so from a learning perspective we need a multifaceted solution. Some people are analytical, some are hands-on. This must reflect in the arrangement surrounding the learning situation. It’s about creating a mix of activities; everything from reading a book to group activities.” Each country has its meetings culture. How do you bridge this in an international company? “Partly through our values. The company has a common code of behaviour that embraces certain norms for how we meet. Cost awareness is very significant. This is why it is important to predetermine the best result at the lowest possible cost. To a great extent this entails holding meetings in our own premises.” You have taught your employees the meaning of “fika” (coffee break). Is it possible to apply MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 2 2009
Swedish meeting techniques everywhere? “We try to. We strive to have a clear entry and exit to all our meetings. I think we work successfully in different ways controlling meetings through an agenda and a concluding reflection. I would say that this works everywhere in the world. It’s about controlling the course of events by giving those responsible for the meeting control over it. The more you create an agenda that everybody can identify with, the better the meeting. With regard to electronic meetings, an identifiable agenda puts an even greater demand on knowing why we’re calling each other.” “One basic prerequisite for learning is reflection and creating space for reflection during the meeting. A general reflection over what you take with you from the meeting. You can then compare the goal fulfilment with the agenda that the meeting had. Expectations, an agenda
and reflection is even better because you then strive towards your expectations. If I put them on the wall you then have to work versus me to get them fulfilled. The worst thing that can happen is somebody saying near the end of the meeting that I have not lived up to their expectations. They should have said that from the outset, so it is crucial that delegates get to express their expectations. You then form some sort of agreement. This allows me to say from the outset “sorry, I won’t be able to deliver that, you won’t get that from this meeting”, the disappointment will then be out of the way and not crop up at the end. It’s vital to have clear content and borders. And then, of course, many meetings deliver a lot more than what’s required and often have a great impact on the network. When we meet I know where your skills lie. I know when to turn to you, which I don’t when working virtually. It’s a vital part of the meeting.” π
GÖTEBORG Just around the corner Göteborg, on the Swedish west coast, is a buzzing city hosting major international meetings, events and concerts. Home to Scandinavia’s largest all-inclusive convention centre, as well as world-renowned trademarks, cuttingedge industries, universities and award-winning chefs. Everything is within walking distance and the captivating archipelago is only a tram ride away. In the past Göteborg has hosted several large congresses and examples of upcoming congresses are the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology as well as the International Symposium on Air-Breathing Engines that are already on the agenda for 2009, 2010 and 2014, respectively. Take your meeting to a city where professionalism, quality and pleasure come as a standard. Direct flights connecting from more than 50 European destinations
8,600 hotel rooms in central city
”Göteborg is the event capital of Europe” Professor Donald Getz, Event Management & Event Tourism, University of Calgary, Canada
Wide range of conference venues with a capacity between 200 - 9,000
”Göteborg is probably the city in Sweden that has the best ability to welcome major international arrangements and to do this with such generosity that also the visitors feel at home.”
Göran Persson, former Prime Minister of Sweden
CONTACT INFO Göteborg Convention Bureau Lennart Johansson T: +46 31 368 4050 E: email@example.com WWW.GOTEBORG.COM/MEETINGS
Strong joint commitment between authorities and the business community to support major events ”Among the 10 most attractive destinations in the world.” The Independent, UK
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Pär Hugo Kjellén
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the difference between an
association or company’s activities going well and going exceptionally well is possible to analyse and measure. Greta Kotler from American ASAE & The Center disclosed their research findings to Meetings@TUR Show in Gothenburg in March and suggested seven ways of going from good to great. ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership is a non-profit, politically independent partner organisation with a workforce of 100 in Washington and 22,000 members:
evant for all associations: leadership, committee work, social responsibility, the affect of the economy, use of technology, human resources, education/training, strategy, etc. The research conducted and the good benchmarks chiefly target associations and societies, but is also possible to apply to companies and other organisation, large and small. Greta Kotler is Chief Knowledge & Strategy Officer and has dealt with the issues for seven years at the ASAE & The Center. With her long and sterling background within
eradicate hunger among the elderly. We contribute to developing their activities and goals, and this way help a large number of people. For me personally this is very satisfying.” As well as spreading knowledge and linking the right people, ASAE & The Centers’ core values are based on the obvious fact that associations form the cornerstones of our society and economy. The associations play a major role in social progress, but this is easily forgotten, something that the ASAE & The Center constantly strive to change, particularly with
Associations, branch organisations, business leaders, business partners, people active in the meetings industry, consultants and students. They represent 11,000 organisations and half of the members consist of small associations with ten or fewer employees and a turnover of a million dollars or less. A thousand of the members are non-governmental organisations (non-profit and voluntary). The base is in the USA, but they have at least one member in fifty or so countries. They calculate with people in the field reaching out to 287 million the world over. Under the motto connect great ideas and great people, ASAE & The Center work on issues that are rel-
research, occupational training, further education and international relations, she is full of enthusiasm for the potential that knowledge has for the individual and for society in general. “Learning from each other and sharing knowledge has enormous synergy effects. It’s exciting to see how, by linking together the right people, we can develop our member associations and make a different in society. The issues we work with really impact society as a whole, and this concerns both large commercial organisations as well as smaller voluntary organisations in the social sector, such as, for example, Meals on Wheels, who work nationwide to
the new US administration in place. “We are a non-political organisation that endeavours to persuade leading politicians of the importance of our associations in social progress and to make them aware of how non-governmental organisations can contribute to the good of society by supporting the business sector, drawing up a common set of values, and working on standardisation, etc. One good example of this was when hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans region and hundreds of associations mobilised to help the victims. We have already contacted Barrack Obama’s administration and we have all the expertise required to educate them in these vital issues.
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Our headquarters are just a stone’s throw from the White House, which is an advantage, but not always: sometimes they close the street for security reasons when Obama is in the area or driving past, so we have to remain in our office, sometimes well into the evening. One of the largest research projects undertaken by ASAE & The Center in recent years is a pioneering, ambitious comparative study stretching over a few years into why some associations are exceptional while others are just good. They put together a team of association leaders and in pairs looked into the differences that exist between associations despite them using much the same methods. For four years and thousands of working hours, the team, which mainly comprised of volunteers, compiled information with the help of interviews, on-line questionnaires and personal contact, which later formed the basis of the book ”7 Measures of Success: what remarkable associations do that others don’t”. The underlying concept was to provide guidelines and inspiration to employees and volunteers endeavouring to improve their associations and achieve great success. The mentor for the project was Jim Collins, author of the books ”Good to Great” and ”Build to Last”. In his foreword he writes: “Disciplined people who think and act in a disciplined manner; this simple mantra that captures much of that which separates an excellent organisation from an average one. Some organisations achieve more than others despite having comparable opportunities and circumstances.” “The considerable amount of compiled data and analyses finally led to us being able to determine seven factors, success measures, that separated the excellent associations from the rest. These factors were part of the organisation’s DNA, so to speak, and it’s not about intentions, endeavours or market messages but concrete actions with regard to purpose, analysis/feedback and actions,” says Greta Kotler. MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 2 2009
“The issues we work with really impact society as a whole”
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“If we first look at the undertakings relating to the purpose then the excellent associations are all about “we’re here to serve you”, an approach that not only permeates all personal contact with the members but is an integral part of the entire organisation’s structure and processes. As well as this membersin-focus culture, it’s crucial that all products and services are in line with the association’s mission, even when the external environment changes. A good example here is the Girl Scouts of the USA, who endeavour to reach out to every girl in the country, and this they do by using new technology and social networks like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Lots of voluntary workers are actively striving to enrol young people and they succeed quite well.” “With regard to undertakings relating to analysis and feedback, the study showed that the excellent associations had developed advanced methods of compiling data and processes for dividing these details and analysing them in order to determine how to act. Employees as well as volunteers therewith hold an internal, ongoing dialogue relating to the direction and priorities of the organisation. The third factor in the context is having a CEO who seeks and promotes good ideas and approaches, where the important thing is not that the person is a visionary as such but can promote innovative thinking throughout the organisation, that the person not only leads but really listens. “The third area relates to the will to act and adapt. Excellent associations learn from, and react to, change, there is a will to change but also an insight into what should not change. Finally, it’s also about forming the right alliances, the power of participation, that successful associations seek partners and projects
that underpin and supplement their mission and purpose. In all these seven steps – customer service culture, follow your mission dilgently, databased strategies, dialogue and commitment, CEO as innovator, adapting and alliance forming – the associations that ASAE & The Center found to be great, not good were as follows: AARP, American College of Cardiology, American Dental Association, Associated General Contractors of America, Girl Scouts of the USA, National Association of Countries, Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants, Radiological Society of North America and the Society for Human Resource Management. These nine thus provide an example for others to follow, and not just associations. Greta Kotler maintains that these findings can also be applied by other companies and organisations, and by the meetings industry and congresses and events organisers. Bringing to the fore interesting research and sharing vital information with the aim of making associations and others great, not good, giving them more influence and sustainability is fully in line with the organisation’s goals. “Thanks to the generosity of our members we have compiled a number of good examples on our website asaecenter.org, which contains 5,000 case studies for associations to study and perhaps copy. They don’t need to reinvent things but can utilise the ideas and the information that could help them. We offer research as help, a forum for the transfer of knowledge and a possibility for participants in all our 100 to 150 voluntary committees to communicate. And we’re always on the lookout for more volunteers.” Greta Kotler says that ASAE & The Center has a strong values offer2009 No 2 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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Blah Blah Blah
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no more boring meetings! denmark has been leading the fight against boring meetings We now offer different and beneficial meeting concepts that create a better outcome of the time and money spent when bringing people together. Meetovation conferences and meetings are efficient and green. They engage participants actively and have a new creative approach to a far more flexible use of conference facilities.
Breaking with one-way communication is a liberating experience for delegates and organisers alike.
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ing and would welcome an increased exchange with, for example, Swedish associations, who she thinks have much to contribute. There are a few Swedish members, including the MCI Group. “We’re endeavouring to increase our international breadth in order to take onboard the knowledge of more players and to open up for more people to utilise our knowhow. We welcome Swedish business and organisation leaders as members for a mutual exchange surrounding
issues like leadership, community influence, certification and further education. We would like to know the current issues in Sweden, what you’re grappling with and we would like the Swedish association world’s perspective on how we can link together to become more effective. Swedish associations play a major role in society and many companies have been involved in corporate social responsibility for some time, which we’d like to know more about, it sounds exciting.” π
for those who are wondering: Greta Kotler is married to Mil-
ton, one of Philip Kotler’s brothers. Philip Kotler is regarded by many as the father of modern marketing.
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Slovenia for Slovenia is a safe, hospitable and friendly country offering numerous new and renovated meeting and conference venues catering for events of every size up to 2,000 delegates. The locations are incredibly diverse, whether your preference is for the enchanting capital, Ljubljana, an alpine setting, the Adriatic coast, a health resort or one of the beautiful, historic towns or cities. The advantages of Sloveni in the meeting business and incentive travel include: • easy accessibility (two hours flight from majority of European capitals), • the geographic and cultural diversity of the country, • superb meeting facilities with the latest technical support, • exciting cuisine with excellent wines, • the genuine hospitality of the people, • and, last but not least, good value for money. The compact and handy-sized Slovenia allows a meeting planner to create a well diversified programme while staying in one destination. The short driving distances within the country are ideal to include different localities, and consequently, experiences, that can definitely bring an added value to holding an event in Slovenia. This equally applies to congresses or conferences, where, at less than an hour’s distance from wherever in the country, del-
egates can discover unique attractions during a half-day or even shorter tour that can be incorporated into a programme. Just as an example, for an event that is held in Ljubljana, one can plan a specially tailored visit of the Postojna Caves, including a concert and a drink in their fascinating underworld space, concluded by a buffet in the premises of a renovated manor, which can welcome several hundred guests. Distance-wise, we are talking of 45 minutes driving, and the same can be considered if an event is held in Portoroz, as the travel time is equal. With an event placed in Bled it is easy to plan an escapade to Ljubljana, changing from the alpine backdrop to the urban beat… The diversity of products and experiences on short distances can be also ideally weaved into exciting incentive programmes, where Slovenia can be first recommended as a fantastic destination for the great outdoors. Team-building and special activities encompass a wide array of available programmes, ranging from adrenaline sports in warmer and colder seasons (canyoning, hydrospeed, kayaking and rafting on white waters, sailing, snowshoeing, sledding, ice-climbing, or even underground caves’ discoveries, etc.) to team-building challenges in practically all localities across the country, that can even include testing the participants’ culinary or artistic skills… For Slovenia it can be really said that the sky is the limit…
meetings… A very good overview of ideas has been collected and published last autumn in a brochure named “Ljubljana Tips for Incentives” – a joint project of the Kongres Magazine and the Ljubljana Tourist Board/Convention Bureau. This publicationcan be downloaded from the www.visitljubljana.si website, which contains a dedicated section for Meeting Planners. The publication showcases an array of individual products that can be combined to create dynamic and diverse incentive programmes. From a total of 68 tips, about half focus on the capital; a number of “neutral” tips can be placed in several possible locations, while 23 suggest exciting outings out of greater Ljubljana – towards the Alps, the Karst and Coast, as well as other regions. Useful contacts Meeting planners who might consider Slovenia as a new destination are welcome to contact two convention bureaus – the national one, and the one acting for the capital city. The Slovenian Convention Bureau (www.slovenia-convention.com), whose strategic partner is the Slovenian Tourist Board, acts as a professional intermediary between meeting planners and suppliers, assisting organisers to select the most appropriate solution for their event. Its membership, currently at 67 companies, encompasses vast majority of venues and service providers in the country (DMCs, PCOs, event management companies…), from all the categories of the conference supply.
The Ljubljana Tourist Board’s Convention Bureau is the specialist contact (www.visitljubljana.si) for those primarily interested to hold meetings in the capital city. Both bureaus work in good synergy, which is the only way to maximise the efforts to raise the profile of Slovenia on the European meetings map. With this aim, an interesting business event – the Conventa Show, has been launched in January 2009, with the next appointment on 21 and 22 January 2010. Conventa was organized by the Slovenian Convention Bureau in collaboration with some key partners in the country and three distinguished international trade associations. Slovenia took the initiative to bring together providers of meetings and incentive travel services from the entire Southeast European region and showcase them to the international market. This business event can be regarded as an excellent opportunity to get initially acquainted with the meeting offerings of this wider region, and to follow relevant news, please refer to the website www.conventa.info
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Fredrik EmdÃ©n PHOTOS
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british designer Ilse Crawford seeks to bring a natural feel to the meeting rooms that she designs. Meetings are about bringing people together and getting them off their chairs, she says, and thinks they should not be called meeting rooms at all. “A room should be adaptable to any use. Of course meetings require a certain amount of technology, but we should be able to build this into a room without it becoming the reason for the room’s existence.” The meeting as a phenomenon interests Ilse Crawford. She dissected the subject during a business hotel project in England, a 19th century hotel that had been rebuilt many times. All the windows in the meeting room were covered and they placed a large table in it… She wonders why, gesticulating with her arms. “The idea of a meeting room is surely to gather people in one place where they can feel relaxed and spontaneous, and be able to discuss things openly. They should feel as comfortable as possible. The whole
thing should be professional. Design can’t solve all problems, but it can at least create a room that raises the comfort zone.” It was through Elle Decorations magazine that Ilse Crawford became internationally renowned in the late 1980s. Despite her Scandinavian name (her mother was born in Denmark) Ilse Crawford feels, and is, very British; head held high, articulate speech, a glint in her eye and pronounced over-enthusiasm. In the early 1990s Ilse Crawford left journalism and went from critic to designer. She has since made a name for herself as the most versatile person in the design world. She has furnished hotels, designed furnishings and has held management positions at both Donna Karan and 2009 No 2 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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Swarovskij. Through her company, Studio Ilse, she has also designed a spa in England. Ilse Crawford has written books in which she takes up her thesis on incorporating human elements in design. One basic furnishing tip she often gives is to mix handmade and mass-produced so as to form a link between our different values. She speaks of togetherness and the unexpected consequences of change. “I once had an employer who thought that everybody should have a piece of stunning furniture in their office to inspire them. Having something inspiring and human around us rather than mass-produced is important I think, a space in which to retreat. Not everybody needs to be an eye-catcher; most people congregate in small groups in the corners not in the middle. One needs to be for oneself at times, that’s natural. And the rocking chair you are sitting in is a beautiful piece of furniture and makes you feel better.” So when you see meeting rooms that all look the same it spurs you on? “Great challenge, isn’t it? These rooms seem to have the task of spreading unease. As everybody’s so nervous these days, these rooms should really have the task of balancing as much as possible. They should be able to bring out the best in people and bring them together, not separate them. We have really thought out how this should be done. It’s about bringing people together so they can’t just sit on their chairs. I think it’s fascinating.” But what do the rooms that Ilse Crawford design really look like? “I’m not sure how they will look because we’re still working on it. But I know what they’ll feel like. I hope that they make people feel as relaxed and secure as possible. I want to remove hierarchies. For me meetings are about sharing ideas, removing MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 2 2009
the hierarchies that normally exist at a workplace.” “A meeting is where people gather. Take for example Beddington House, a hotel I worked on in 1998. I discussed it with the owners at length but the didn’t accept my ideas. He wanted a large table, that kind of thing. They may have used it, but I put the table in the library where I thought it belonged. And the room where it stood before was transformed into something gentler and more pleasant,” she says and underlines that not everybody sees the financial aspect of having an inspiring meeting room. “It was a hell of a job convincing my clients, but as their room had stood empty for three months they were prepared to try it.” Ilse Crawford does not think that safeguarding the human aspects of design makes her unique in any way. She agrees that her stance is unusual, but it is becoming more and more contemporary. “It feels like people have been forgotten in the design debate, but I think that will change rapidly. In the beginning we were struck with wonder over the power of design, but as we’ve got used to it we’ve realised that design is a tool and it depends on who is holding it.” Ilse Crawford thinks it is important to have some sort of contact with nature because we sit in a room for such a long time. Being in an enclosed room for a long time can be quite devastating and bring on numbness after a while. “It’s interesting that people always prefer to sit by a window. It’s a natural human reaction. Light needs to be human and not overwhelming. We nearly always use too much light, which is not natural for a place where you spend most of the day. We treat it like the TV series The Office, a place to feel aversion for. A place
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“Churches are a good example of how design can lift people’s ability. They’ve cracked the code.”
you go to with pleasure would be a better alternative. The place should make you feel secure, but also liked, which is why it’s nice to have pleasant things around you, not just a plastic room.” How can design stimulate learning? “It can create time and space and sharpen your senses. Churches are a good example of how design can lift people’s ability. They’ve cracked the code.” As another example Ilse Crawford names a gallery in Cambridge, Kettle’s Yard, where they have ‘an unwavering love for English modern art’. “When you enter you are struck by the innate sensibility. You come out a better person, there’s no question of that. You sense the respect they have for light and plants have magnifier in front of them so you can take a closer look. You can’t avoid feeling that somebody cares. That’s a fantastic feeling. So yes, in that way design can definitely provide inspiration.” But can design contribute to good learning? “Yes, absolutely. Hilary Cottam, who won the Designer of the Year Award in England, researches into the possibilities of improving children’s education through strategies for teachers and schools. The first school she worked with has left the bottom of the list to become a really good school. She has also rebuilt prisons to enable them to devote 80 per cent of their budgets to rehabilitation and 20 to security, instead of vice versa as it has always been. It’s not the design itself as much as the strategy in how she uses design. She’s brilliant. Used like this design can be very powerful. It’s a way of thinking; orientate a problem then interpret it. The end product is the consequences of this interpretation, which is the interesting part.” π 2009 No 2 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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Rosenbad (1) / Photo: Pawel Flato
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This is an excerpt from the third trend report from Meetings International. Here we raise the knowledge level of the meetings and events industry and list the twelve most important trends in Sweden as we see them. atti soenarso, Chief Editor and roger kellerman, Publisher 1. THE POLITICAL AWAKENING (-) Like a much longed-for sunrise on the meetings industry horizon we have witnessed a change in the political sphere in the past two years. We have sent Meetings International to all 350 Swedish MPs and to several leading politicians in the large cities outside of Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. Parallel with this we have sent our electronic newsletter to the same people. Naturally, some have left us due to a lack of interest in the contents of the newsletter, but generally the group remains intact.
As we understand it, politicians at least read the magazine and glow in the fact that Sweden belongs to the world elite in arranging meetings and events. Political language is changing as worn out social democratic expressions like ‘visitor industry’ are trash-canned in favour of Meetings Industry and Business Tourism as vital motive powers in Swedish tourism. These two stand for half the turnover in Swedish tourism, in plain figures 120 billion of 240 billion kronor. This is well worth 2009 No 2 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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devoting some political interest. The next step is to create contact surfaces with high ranking politicians. Increased activities at the Almedalen Politics Week on Gotland, arrange seminars in the parliament building and the large cities through MPI (www.mpisweden.se, www.mpiweb.org). In this way we can bring about a dialogue with the politicians who will control Sweden at national level and in the country’s ten to fifteen largest cities. They all want the same thing: good times for the Swedish meetings industry. Our goal must be to provide more knowledge and find new inroads to a political dialogue. There is no politic opposi-
tion here, only success if we up the transfer of knowledge and with it the knowledge levels. This is a trend we will monitor and follow up during the coming year. 2. NEW CONVENTION BUREAUS TURN SWEDEN INTO A MODERN MEETINGS COUNTRY (2) Last year’s trend report followed closely that which took place in society. The number of convention bureaus (CVBs), grew and at a quicker pace than we had predicted. A couple of years ago only Stockholm and Gothenburg were on the CVB map. Today we can add Uppsala, Luleå, Umeå, Skellefteå, Gävle, Örebro,
Gotland, Jönköping and Malmö and predict Åre, Östersund, Karlstad, Västerås, Norrköping/Linköping, Borås, Lund, Helsingborg, Halmstad and Kristianstad to have CVBs within three years. And not only that. The majority also become members of the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA). We also see that a few of the CVBs are not interested in even trying to manage the task of Professional Congress Organiser (PCO) because it is simpler to show politicians that here is more visible money to be made. The investment we see on the horizon in Skåne, southern Sweden follows in the path of the work that is
Uppsala Konsert & Kongress (4) Photo: iStockPhotos
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underway in Malmö. When the new congress hall in central Malmö is clubbed through during the spring, and one or two of the planned expo halls begin in earnest, it will give the Malmö Convention Bureau a flying start. But do not imagine for one moment that Stockholm and will just die a slow death. The cities have solid locations on which to continue building upon and Stockholm enjoyed an all time high in 2008, boasting 150 implemented meetings compared to 109 the previous year. Naturally, 150 implemented meetings is more important than a high ranking in ICCA statistics, even if that is still a goal for Stockholm. 3. DMC DEVELOPMENTS TAKE OFF (3) Despite the financial crisis, we are looking to start several new Destination Management Company projects that will breathe new life into an area in which Visit Sweden wishes to see more rapid developments. Last year we predicted more
Anna Johansson (4) / Photo: Sara Appelgren
companies developing their own event/DMC constellations, but this is waiting in the wings as a growth project. We expect a handful of new event/DMC projects during the year. Several larger players have seen the lucrative side of creating a team of event sellers linked to their facilities at first hand and functioning as a DMC. We can count on more light in the meetings industry being shone onto DMC development. When the DMCs learn to use the web and search engines to be found internationally then the number of Swedish DMCs could double. Even more event companies are probably ogling the DMC market, also with one eye on the accomplishments of leading meetings industry companies like the MCI Group and Congrex Bokningsbolaget. What they do usually has a knock-on effect. 4. STRATEGIC ALLIANCES AND COLLABORATION (6) Event in Skåne and Tourism in Skåne can be seen as a direct result of what happened in Stockholm and the West Sweden Tourist Board. Malmö is on the rise with new buildings such as the congress hall at the central station, the recently opened Malmö Arena and football stadium and the two coming expo halls, one of which is not far from Malmö Arena. The Malmö Convention Bureau emerges as the one among them looking to make a greater impression, and last but not least there is a destination collaboration project in town that is worth a mention. There could be muscles in this project to propel Malmö back to third place among the country’s meetings towns, but there is still some way to go. The strategy of the Malmö project is however crystal clear. If the pieces fall into place it could be a rapid take off. A strategic collaboration in a Malmö alliance could, in the coming years,
convince Skåne politicians of the importance of well-planned collaboration. Uppsala is in a good position today and the latest investment in a strategic collaboration project to further strengthen the networks to attract more international events and meetings to the university town looks sustainable. Uppsala will not await Malmö and Lund’s (hopefully soon) CVB investments. Uppsala is one step ahead and do all in their power to stay that way. In this trend we include the project initiated by Anna Johansson, Conference and Event Manager at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (KTH). She has managed to attract a number of universities and other close partners to a joint project that could lift Sweden internationally. Outside the country’s borders not much is known of Swedish universities from the 15-17th centuries with regard to the meetings industry, but just wait. The new universities and colleges our taking university Sweden out of its slumber. This is a trend that should stand on its own two feet, but as it creates a project for strategic collaboration we include it here. Building each other’s brands is another perspective on the same question. Who are you actually collaborating with? How do you influence each other’s brands? Is it your company that legitimises the other company? In that case, is it you building the other company’s brand and not vice versa. Is that not exactly what brand building is all about? Creating a positive picture of what you do in your company can be razed by liaising with a company that actually cheats its way along pretending to be a member of a quality promoting organisation/association. What does such a partnership mean for your company? What do say to 2009 No 2 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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your customers? Greenwashing and quality washing based on a lot of hot air or non-existent knowledge in a subject you claim to know all about can suddenly become as transparent as the Emperor’s new clothes. How nice is being a partner and working together on a strategic alliance then? Customer relations works in much the same way. Do you deepen or superficialise the collaboration? Lastly, it is also about personal relationships. Mutual trust is usually down to something you have created together. Develop your brand with partners who develop your brand. The others take the energy you give but give nothing back. 5. STRONG POSITIONING OF EVENT COMPANIES (7) It is event companies like brinc relations, Bodén & Co, Idélaboratoriet, Inspiration, Hansen, Contrast, Meet Masters, Lovén & Partners, Dream Communications, Baluba, Imagine, PS Communication, Creative Events, Eventyr, Prosit Design and integrated communications companies like Future Lab and consultancy company for internal meetings Gr8 Meetings who today stand for nearly all the developments within the meetings industry. There are naturally other companies and factors: large companies like Astra Zeneca, Sandvik, Volvo, Ikea, Ericsson and Scania who run their own think tanks with regard to developing meetings and events into more professional, fun and not least profitable occasions. In the past year this trend has further deepened. When we asked for nominations for the Meetings and Event Planner of the Year Award, the best suggestions came exclusively from leading event companies. The simple reason was that they are the ones working with Return On Investment and the meeting’s content, strategy, management and dramaturgy, etc. MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 2 2009
Josefin Sollander (6)
Ingrid Fleetwood Hesser (6)
Helene Larsson (6) Photos: Sara Appelgren
6. THE COMPANY ADVANCES ITS POSITIONS THROUGH STRONG PERSONALITIES We put the spotlight on Peter Vallenthin, CEO of Geodis Wilson, the 2008 Meetings and Events Planner of the Year. This year’s award will go to the wire. The four finalists (of 15 nominated) were well qualified and all the finalists could have won the award but the jury’s choice finally fell on Peter Vallenthin. “It was the uncompromising decision to put the meeting in direct focus that was crucial,” says the Jury Chairman Atti Soenarso, Chief Editor of Meetings International. The three finalists were also strong personalities, and it is also a trend that more people in leading positions understand the power in the professional meeting, using the meeting as a media and thinking strategically. Companies simply advance their positions through such strong personalities Other finalists: Josefin Sollander, Head of events and sponsorship at SEB. Her department is in charge of the bank’s global sponsorship strategy. They also arrange all the group-wide international events and all large customer events in Sweden. Josefin Sollander’s department holds a hundred or so meetings a year. Three to four meetings attract between 500 and 1,500 visitors, and two, three meetings attract more than 1,500 delegates. “These include the general meeting of shareholders, the Swedish Open in Båstad as main sponsor, and Match Cup Sweden in Marstrand. We have worked with strategic meetings, both with and without sponsorship, for some time. When we meet people we have access to the whole three dimensional sphere: all the senses in place, a personal impression, how we do things, what we stand for. Those we meet experience the bank’s soul. We know that this gives our custom-
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Qatar Convention Centre (7)
ers something extra and creates loyalty, and in the end a business perspective that helps us retain our customers longer and make more money,” says Josefin Sollander. Ingrid Fleetwood Hesser is Marketing Director for the Nordic market at EDS, a relatively anonymous giant company in the IT sector, which, with its global workforce of 130,000 provides services within outsourcing, offshoring, etc. After HP acquired the company in the autumn, EDS is now the largest IT company in the world. The fact that EDS is an unknown quantity for most people has not gone unmissed and Ingrid Fleetwood Hesser is endeavouring to change this. One way of reaching out and strengthening the company’s brand is through Pole Position Day, which she initiated and planned together with concept bureau Lovén & Partners.
Pole Position Day is the main activity in a row of annual activities arranged by EDS, a day that offers small and larger meetings, a message interwoven with entertainment. Last year 260 people took part in Pole Position Day, this year many more are expected to take part as the day is being combined with roundtable discussions. Helene Larsson is Exhibition Producer at the Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm and recently appointed Cultural Attaché in Belgrade. She was employed to engage more external experts in the museum’s exhibitions and was given sole responsibility for the Madonna Exhibition about one of the world’s most famous women, Mary Magdalene. The response to the exhibition exceeded all expectation, visitorwise and from colleagues around the world. The opening ceremony also lived up to its billing. Representa-
tives of the Swedish and Catholic Churches were there and the exhibition was opened by a Muslim. The museum had invited 550 people, people who are not normally invited to the museum’s previews, and who normally never meet each other. The exhibition became a pioneering meeting place. 7. THE WORLD IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER (13) The global trend is taking more and space and we could write a book about it. Do not think for one moment that things that happen in Sweden only happen here. Below you can take a closer look at what is happening in Turkey and Qatar. Turkey is investing a great deal of money in congresses. At an international INCON meeting in Istanbul in January, the country’s culture and tourism minister Ertugrul Gülnay declared that Turkey had a vision 2009 No 2 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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to become fifth in the world among congress countries. Turkey is currently in 25th place and Istanbul is 19th among the cities. “The infrastructure for congresses is vital,” says Ertuğrul Günayand shows some of the great investments the country has made in Congress Valley in central Istanbul. A new congress centre is being built adjacent to an existing congress complex. 800 men are working three shifts, seven days a week to get the building ready for the summer, a few weeks prior to a large international finance meeting. Not far away another three large congress halls are being built, one for roughly 3,000 people, two for 1,000 people each, three for 300 each, as well as a number of break-out rooms for several parallel meetings. The Minister also emphasised the significance of facilitating for more companies to hold their meetings in the town. Turkey has a population of 80 million, 16 million of whom live in Istanbul, so the domestic market is large in itself. The political meetings are also on the up and the Minister underlined the importance of collaboration and knowledge-sharing within the industry in the continued development of Istanbul as a meetings city and Turkey as a meetings country. Onur Gözet, from the same ministry, also spoke on the theme and said that 30 per cent of Turkey’s tourism income already derives from congresses. Antalya and Ankara are also important congress towns and investments are being made to increase the number of towns from three to seven with immediate effect. Add to this the 55,000 hotel rooms in Istanbul and the 90,000 in Antalya. Turkey will be investing fully in all the large meetings industry expos from now on, that is to say EIBTM (Barcelona), IT&ME (Chicago), MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 2 2009
Confex (London), EMIF (Brussels) and IMEX (France). Onur Gözet also maintained that there was an expressed political unison in the country for this investment. Qatar Convention Centre on the offensive. If anybody imagines for one moment that the Arab nations will just lie down and die when the oil no longer brings in enough dollars, kronor or euro have forgotten the thousands of years that business was conducted in this region before oil took over. In the small country of Qatar (as in more well-known Dubai), tourism has long been high on the list of development projects with the future ahead of it. Qatar is in the process of building the world’s most spectacular meeting place. There is no other way to describe the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC). Opening at almost exactly the same time as the Waterfront Park Inn Congress
Green Meetings (9) / Photo: iStockPhotos
Centre in Stockholm in spring 2011, the QNCC will be the most wellequipped congress facility in the world. The large congress hall takes 4,043 delegates, the theatre 2,389. There are a further 52 meeting rooms of which 15 can be converted to five for 260 delegates each. The expo halls are a total of 35,000 square metres, roughly half as large Stockholm International Fairs when its new hall is ready at the turn of 2009/10. By putting together the exhibition halls at QNCC you can create theatre seats for up to 10,000 people and the same size for a banquet. The expo halls also have two auditoriums for 402 and 296 people respectively, and two other meeting rooms for 120 and 80 people. The whole facility is located in west Doha inside Education City. Several universities and the Qatar
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Science & Technology Park are also located here. The Technology Park is home to companies like EADS, Exxon Mobil, GE, Microsoft, Rolls-Royce, Shell and Total, who together with several other companies guarantee investments of just over SEK two billion in the region in the coming years. At the same time as the QNCC opens, the Sidra Medical and Research Center, a medical research, education and training centre specialising in biomedicine will also open. The airport, which today has the capacity for close on 30 international airlines, will be expanded in two stages. By 2011 it should be ready to take 12 million passengers and in 2015 the capacity will be expanded to 50 million. Qatar Airways, one of only five 5-star airlines in the world, today boasts 80 international destinations. By 2012 the country will have a hotel capacity of 26,000
and will have built 40 new hotels. Stockholm today has 15,000 rooms and roughly 16,000-17,000 by 2012. 8. INCENTIVE TRIP AS CSR (–) Things are definitely going in a positive direction, although that may be difficult to believe with all the negative events that dominate the media coverage. We were part of an international jury for the EIBTM expo’s event competition and have been jury members for some time. It is easier to see how patterns change with a longer time period to compare to. Ten years ago the incentive category was often an orgy of gormandising where the winners won a trip to some exotic place, stay at a luxury hotel, drink champagne all night long, eat luxury food and be driven around in a limousine. This still takes place in a few incentive programmes in the EIBTM compe-
tition as well, but something else took a hold several years ago and most now offer: The chance to help eradicate world poverty as a thank you for doing a good job back at your company. Surely it is more gratifying to give away something meaningful? Do three lobsters taste any better than one? How much more fun is it to spray champagne on each other than to see children get a water well and an entire village being able to quench their thirst knowing that you helped? In the incentive competition we are seeing more examples of worldleading companies giving their most successful workers a chance to share their success with others. To build schools, dig wells, lay a football pitch, design a village where hundreds of people get a more tolerable life thanks to your efforts. Or to build a wind generator in a place lacking electrical power. To set up a village school together, equip it with material like pens, paper a computer perhaps and a football to kick instead of tin cans. We have a fine Swedish example in Bokningsbolaget, who we award our unofficial the Swedish Meetings Industry’s Honorary Award for the best CSR initiative of 2008. Highest points for style and an applaud to the company which for ten years has donated more than 5.5 million kronor to Amnesty, Save the Children, the Red Cross and WWF. Bokningsbolaget is a torchbearer and a good example to all. 9. GREEN MEETINGS AND GREENWASHING (12) So the term Greenwashing has come to the Swedish meetings industry, albeit taking a few years to get a firm foothold. Green meetings is otherwise an issue that we see everywhere, not least in this magazine and in our annual trend report. Of course 2009 No 2 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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the issue is important, very important in fact. But let us not be blinded by what is actually done, because it is not a lot, and in any case we cannot find many buyers from the Swedish business and public sectors who are willing to pay for what they want with regard to green, sustainable meetings. The event companies we are talking about (a handful of the country’s leading bureaus) verify this. The opportunity for green thinking does exist, even the will to actually do that which can be done, but very few buyers/planners are prepared to pay to go the whole way. Creating a green meeting could actually entail postponing the entire meeting and meet over the web or cable TV. We have seen examples of meetings to which all the delegates travelled by rail wherever possible. But the basic problem remains. More and more companies have an environmental and/or CSR policy that should make them act even more sustainable than they do. We gladly hang the green meeting sign in the vestibule but the meeting itself is no different to what it has been for the past ten years. Sweden is world leader in environmental management and Stockholm was recently named Europe’s leading environmental capital. However, the Swedish meetings industry has not been leading with regard to sustainable event planning. For far too many buyers/planners, the term green meeting means confusion and increased costs. At the end of May, American Amy Spatrisano will be in Stockholm to show her practical tools and solutions that demystify sustainable event planning and create results that build brands and increase profits while rewarding society and the planet we live on. Amy Spatrisano is a leading global name in the MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 2 2009
green meetings sphere. She founded the company Meeting Strategies Worldwide and is regarded as a pioneer in green meetings solutions. She developed a tool called the Meet Green Measurement, founded the Green Meeting Industry Council and is president of the US APEX sustainable event standards initiative. Amy Spatrisano is an agent of change and innovator in the area of sustainable solutions for the meetings industry’s environmental contribution. 10. MPI’S DEVELOPMENT IN SWEDEN (-) Bosse Magnusson is CEO of MCI Scandinavia. During his presidential period, Meeting Professionals International (MPI), the world’s largest network in the meetings industry, raised several crucial issues on the home front. “The TUR expo in Gothenburg showed us that we need to improve collaboration and up the pace in developing the Swedish meetings and event industry. I feel that we sprawl too much and collaborate too little, and we actually have a golden opportunity to do something about it,” says Bosse Magnusson. “We need an official network of all the organisations that already exist and which heavily depend on the meetings and event industry. These primarily comprise of private organisations like us in MPI, the Swedish Sponsorship Association, SBTA, ACTE, the Scandinavian Fair Council, but also Swedish members of ICCA, IAPCO, AIPC, SITE, IACC, the large hotel chains, the large event and trade fair organisers, all the convention bureaus in the country, DMCs not already affiliated to MPI or other organisations, and of course SHR.” Bosse Magnusson is seeking a network that can open political doors, create new channels to debate editors and leading media that know
nothing about the meetings and event industry and its SEK billions turnover. “This is, and will continue to be, our only area of responsibility. The network will only handle common issues such as: compiling statistics that show how large the meetings and event industry is and what it entails with regard to jobs and economic development. There is much to do and perhaps, as one of the first items on the agenda, we should scrutinise the Canadian report on the impact of the meetings industry on the Canadian economy to get an idea of how large the meetings industry really is.” “Pave the way for politicians, officials and authorities to be able to invest “correctly” once they have understood the impact that congresses and large events have on the Swedish economy. We must educate politicians, officials, authorities and the media in what the meetings and event industry is and what it stands for. Not least financially. It should be in the interest of all politicians to learn more about an industry that has all the prerequisites for rapid growth in the coming ten to fifteen year period.” 11. A BRAIN CHECK (-) 2008 was the Year of the Brain, but shouldn’t every year be the Year of the Brain? In this year’s trend report we have omitted the meeting as a strategic weapon, not because it no longer exists but because it does not feel as though we have taken that vital step forward, with the exception of a few cases, such as those who reached the final of our the Meetings and Event Planner of the Year Award. We put the spotlight on our columnist Tomas Dalström, Very Important Brains, and the article series A Brain Check as a vital platform for
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A brain check (11) / Photo: iStockPhotos
revamping the meeting to a strategic issue; now with the brain as starting point and perspective. Texts, language, communication skills, aromas, colours, sound, lighting are issues that should be given much more attention by those who create meetings and meetings contents. Why do we not better utilise the knowledge that exists on the brain? Where does the resistance stem from? We will find out and share our findings during the year. 12. CSR AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES (12) Like a hurricane the term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) swept through agendas, inflammatory
speeches and programme descriptions. This is an important issue, in theory at least. This is a trend to keep our eyes on. CSR is on every agenda at the meetings industry’s courses, in leading educational and networking organisations and just about every company that sees itself as leading edge with regard to progress and social responsibility. International surveys, including for example MPI’s own survey, show that roughly 80 per cent agree that the meetings industry must take a moral stance, but only 20 per cent of the respondents do anything tangible. Environmental work is a vital part of CSR and the issue has
been on the agenda ever since the Keep Sweden Clean campaign of the 1960s. We are also relatively well positioned from an international perspective, but there is still a long way to go on this issue. But there is also a CSR washing warning to look out for. Is CSR worth the paper it is written on or is it just a PR and marketing stunt where everybody must say yes but nobody does? With regard to incentive trips, we have already revealed enough about them, greed is not compatible with CSR. We will no doubt see more companies actually create CSR work based on a CSR policy. π 2009 No 2 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
T ransparency creates Trust H ospitality creates Passion A ccountability creates Relationships N eutrality creates Focus K nowledge creates Success Y ears of Experience create Reliability O bstacles create Solutions U nderstanding creates Professionalism ... to all our customers and competitors, partners and friends for 40 years of uncommon achievements in the meetings industry. Vienna Convention Bureau founded 1969
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HUMANOMICS when financial models and gi-
ant institutions are falling all around us, who can we trust? Our friends of course. This may sound obvious, but in the new network-based reality in which we have been brutally sentenced to freedom, we have to cope by ourselves and put our trust in those who care about us, our nearest and dearest. But the word friend now has a completely different meaning. Gone are the blood relationships and grumpy neighbours. With a global super search engine in every living room a new relationship is never far away, somebody who shares your interests, your education and who needs your specialist help. In Silicon Valley they have not surprisingly noticed how new, and above all many, relationships have redrawn the map for career steps and personal development. Fortune Magazine tells us how a whole new troika of decision-makers have taken over at the top of some of the world’s most influential companies. A trio of hungry, aware and influential — women. Here we can follow The New Valley Girls in the shape of Ning’s Gina Bianchini, Google’s Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg. We are heading towards a new dawn in leaps and bounds, a place with no room for backslapping and false loyalties, an age where fancy
goes before duty and passion before prestige. A time when language of force emanating from military-like management courses gives way to a mutual dialogue with a common vision as its platform. What you have done and the education you have is no longer as relevant as who you know and how quickly you can complete your task, or, to quote Fortune’s Patricia Sellers: “Via Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter, these women trade tips constantly.” Our meetings also get a real dose of this new reality. Fascistoid agendas with the aim of getting delegates to quickly chorus ‘yes please, amen’ in unison have been replaced by a range of unexpected meeting forms to which everybody naturally contributes. The Open Space, Twitter, Wikis and Open Source platforms put each individual delegate into focus. There is a level playing field and the agenda is set by the discussions that arise where the only guiding lines are start, finish and summingup. A recent survey conducted by IBM shows that companies of the future will be smaller and will act more rapidly through virtual environments similar to today’s online multiplayer games (MMORPGs). Researchers found that in this environment mistakes were more acceptable and that leaders were selected
johan johansson, L'enfant terrible of the meetings industry. Together with his colleagues at Fivestarday, JJ experiments with new and innovative ways of creating lasting impressions, using the meeting as primary media. Johan Johansson was the founder of Gather, a collective of cutting edge cross-disciplinary specialists who are determined to take the meeting into the future. through a democratic process where knowledge was more important than status. They drew the conclusion that the future workplace will become more like today’s game, where the borders between play and work are erased in an effort to make work a pure pleasure. In his latest book Tribes, Seth Godin, American author, entrepreneur and agent of change, says: “We need you to lead us”, that companies have to stop focusing on increased profit margins and instead do all in their power to enrich the lives of their consumers. Traditional ways of reaching out with their message are disappearing and focus is on getting their existing customers to reach out with the message instead. Also, organisations have to stop using methods based on convincing and instead work hard to become trustworthy and respected leaders. We have waited a long time, but we are at last entering an age where expertise goes before rank and people’s passion and inspiration is a prerequisite for success. The age of Humanomics. π 2009 No 2 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
The juryâ€™s motivation: Peter Vallenthin uses the meeting itself as the main media. He has cast away advertising and PR agencies in order to purchase strategy and stage management of the personal meeting.â€?
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PETER VALLENTHIN logistics company Geodis
Wilson puts the personal meeting in the forefront by using in-depth interviews, hosting, workshops and other events. CEO Peter Vallenthin was one of the four finalists in The Meetings and Event Planner of the Year Award, a prize that has been awarded for five years by meetings management magazine Meetings International. Here Peter Vallenthin explains how they work strategically, internally and externally, and how they have become an interested, and therein a more interesting, partner. French-owned Geodis Wilson is an air and sea freight carrier. It is a global company and one of the largest in the logistics sector. Last year sales totalled â‚Ź5 billion. In Sweden, sales total SEK 2.8 billion and the company has 4,000 regular customers, twelve offices, a workforce of 330 and a market share of 20 per cent, a figure that Peter Vallenthin is looking to increase by becoming a more interesting partner and taking the company to the next level. 2009 No 2 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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Why does your company prioritise the personal customer meeting? “We endeavour to be a knowledge partner and really show that we care and are committed to our customers’ needs. We seek to walk that extra mile, understand and rationalise. The personal meeting is vital in achieving this and in developing new services based on customer needs.” “Through in-depth interviews and events we determine how our customers view the sector and what is important for them today and in the future. We build up a relationship, become more visible and show how we can contribute. Offering a ten per cent cheaper freight between say Hong Kong and Gothenburg is not as important as the relationship, the know-how, solutions and the actual encounter.” When Peter Vallenthin took over the position of CEO almost two years ago he drew up a strategy called Position 2010 together with his employees and defined four crucial areas for achieving success: marketing/customers (sales), quality, communication and co-workers. Since then they have strictly adhered to these guidelines with the insight that the impetus for positive change comes from getting everybody pulling in the same direction and making them aware of the significance of their role in the company. “We have implemented a number of internal activities including a roadshow in one-voice format, where the employees at the various offices were given a laptop with which to chat online on a variety of subjects in a meeting room. The anonymous contributions were displayed on a board and we received lots of suggestions on how we could improve. Everything was recorded and prioritised. There was a great deal of follow-up work but it was MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 2 2009
great fun and gave results; everything is much better now.” “Employees are a vital link between us and the customers because we own neither ships nor aircraft, which is one of the reasons we put personal meetings so high on the list of priorities.” Internally they have also worked with skills enhancement through sales talks, sales trainings, stagemanaged role play, training in hosting techniques and coaching of the sales team in which a checklist was used for personal meetings containing the following items: • To receive correct and exact information (knowledge) • To prepare meetings and set up your own goals • To avoid stress by being wellprepared • To listen attentively to customers’ problems, questions and ideas • To be able to provide rapid information • To be clear and concise in all communication • To be helpful and friendly in all situations • To have information and material that gives the customer added value • To be one step ahead • To want it more than the competitors, to walk that extra mile every time • To always follow up everything. • To offer lunch/dinner on a regular basis • To always send brief communications Sellers are traditionally responsible for customer contacts, but at Geodis Wilson, 200 forwarding agents are also responsible for proactively contacting customers, the result of a one-voice suggestion, also a form of skills enhancement.
“Listening is always
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the most important ingredient when creating a customer relationship.â€?
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In dealings with customers, for one and a half years they have used the word “transportable”, a concept thought up together with the Imagine event agency. “Transportable entails evening events for 900 customers offering refreshments and entertainment, with lectures and mentometer buttons where we check the pulse of the participants. Other times we have gathered the customers at an afterwork to discuss subjects such as the environment and the significance of logistics. We follow up with roundtable discussions and workshops along with inspirational lectures.” “Everything is then followed up with a web questionnaire where we always get new suggestions. These events are very popular and appreciated; a good move that we are alone on in the sector and which is in line with our endeavours to be an interesting partner, something that everybody in the company works with.”
Peter Vallenthin won the Meetings and Event Planner of the Year Award because he invested in the personal meeting to reach out to the market/customers and in strategy, direct communication and stage management rather than advertising and PR. What is a good meeting? “For me it’s about the correct information, good preparation, goals from the outset and asking the right questions. Listening is always the most important ingredient when creating a customer relationship. Listening and suggesting solutions such as long-term logistics purchasing, for example, and being clear and concise, helpful and providing quick feedback. All this leads to a positive result, and you can show a genuine interest so that the customer feels feather dusted.” And the future? “We are monitoring the effects of the economic recession, but will not be changing anything at the moment and will continue to follow our strategy. We will continue with the personal meeting as the guiding star. Internally, there will be more one-voice occasions and externally we will continue to develop transportable and the sales team by using webcasts etc., all to create a more interesting workplace and partner.” π
“We seek to walk that extra mile, understand and rationalise.”
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Feel the Feel people. the people. Taste Taste fresh ideas. fresh ideas.
www.slovenia.info www.slovenia.info www.slovenia-convention.com www.slovenia-convention.com
EnergyTours helps the world As host for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 15) in Copenhagen in December 2009, Denmark will also be drawing international attention to the country’s own climate and energy solutions. These technical visits before, during and after COP 15, by politicians and officials has a great potential for the clearly growing climate and energy sector. It embraces decision-makers, professional buyers throughout the energy sector, journalists, TV companies, university professors, senior lecturers and scientists, students, and other interested parties within a sector that is growing, and forecast to keep growing whatever lies ahead in the economic landscape. This is reason why VisitDenmark, in collaboration with Climate Consortium and the Association of Danish Travel Agencies and Travel Operators, took the initiative to form EnergyTours. As a integral part of the project, VisitDenmark established the EnergyTours Network, which has drawn up a number of visit programmes and arranges energy study trips throughout Denmark for foreign visitor groups.
The secretariat for these technical visits within the energy and environmental fields has the task of coordinating the work of the visit groups and documenting the export potential created around the UN COP 15 congress. The partners behind the Climate Consortium include: • DI Energibranschen • Dansk Energi • The wind power industry • Dansk Byggeri • Agricultural Council • The fund for the marketing of Denmark Read more at: EnergyMap.dk, who map out the climate solutions throughout Denmark and present them on their website. At EnergyMap.dk anybody in the world can fetch information and inspiration prior to visiting Denmark and compile dossiers on companies and organisations within the energy sector and form personal contacts, etc.
solve the climate and energy problem By visiting Denmark through the EnergyTours project, delegates have the chance to meet front people and company leaders from Denmarkâ€™s foremost companies and organisations in energy and environmental research. 2009 and 2010 will give us a great opportunity to help the world solve a number of problems in the climate, environment and energy spheres. These companies help you with energy tours that could lead to climate and energy solutions: Climate Solutions in Thy & Mors compiles data on climate solutions created by Thy & Mors. The town with its 70,000 inhabitants uses electricity created solely by renewable energy. Heating is also run off renewable sources. www.klimalosninger.dk
Wave Star Energy was established in 2003 with the task of creating commercially viable wave technology in balance with nature. The company has a workforce of 24 and is in the process of completing the first series of 500 kW wave machines. www.wavestarenergy.com Danish DMC companies that can also handle your logistics in connection with an Energy Tours technical visit: www.greenbeltdenmark.dk www.firstunited.dk www.dmcdenmark.dk www.kuoni-dmc.com www.bdp-dk
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PRESENCE OF MIND
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per hรถrberg, behavioural scientist who has been a manager at Ikea and in the Swedish Armed Forces. Author and coach. Leader, facilitator and consultant to all types of meetings. Runs Wellnessguide.se and the Yasuragi Academy in Stockholm.
Per Hรถrberg he business world demands
enterprise, power of decision and continuity. But when people with these qualities meet, the meeting does not always live up to its billing. It either short-circuits or becomes an under-the-surface showdown between the two personages; or under the boardroom table, behind the computer screen, beyond the reach of the mobile phone, or between the lines of what is said. Presence of mind has a very unassuming nature. Compared to mental factors like passion, ambition, creativity and intelligence that is. These qualities make an instant and strong impression on people. The impact of such attractive factors on a meeting is often rapid and widespread, albeit brief. The advantages of presence of mind are thus not always directly obvious for the average stressed colleague. One has to be well aware of the term presence of mind and form a relationship with it before attempting to evaluate its true value and its covert penetrating influence. Presence of mind progresses slowly but surely and its daily merits are usually of an uplifting character. But once it has taken root it stands
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firm and provides control and structure to the terrain it covers. Everything can be influenced by presence of mind. But if presence of mind or attention is directed at something in the daily routines, it is seldom long enough to make us aware of the effect. In order to release the inherent power in presence of mind we first have to understand it and consciously develop it in its basic form. This form could be called undivided attention. This means the explicit and purposeful presence in what actually happens to us at any given moment during a meeting. The attention is called undivided because it adds substance to that which is factual in our perception. We see things as they really are and without reacting to them in action, speech or thought. How then can a passive attitude such as undivided attention lead to such excellent results? There are several sides of undivided attention that energise presence of mind. One lies in tidying up the mental faculties, structuring the state of mind through undivided attention. If we were to take a closer look at our daily thoughts and activities the results could make depressing reading. Among the odd thought and activity with focus and meaning, we would encounter a web of sensations, thoughts, emotions and random body movements. Few would tolerate such disorder in their own home. Nonetheless, it is this state of mind and mental activity that prevails among delegates at a normal meeting. A quick glimpse into the nooks and crannies of the mind would probably be a healthy short, sharp shock for the observer. Undivided attention has the power to clean up or regulate the mind by indentifying and sorting mental processes. In other words, to “put a name to” the MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 2 2009
various mental processes. Primitive cultures believed that words could exercise some sort of magical power: things that could be named lost their magical powers, thus eradicating the fear of the unknown. For primitive cultures, knowing the name of a power, a being or an object was the same as controlling it. We can see much the same pattern today when the health care service makes a diagnosis. “Aha, ADHD, cancer or migraine!” Perhaps there is an element of truth in primitive people’s “word magic”. Identifying and naming drives the unknown out of the dark and into the spotlight. Another thing that energises presence of mind is managing the external disruptions at a meeting. We sometimes notice how an unwanted situation is often worsened if we try to counteract it actively. Small conflicts at a meeting continue and become larger if fed with irony, sarcasm or vanity in an attempt to come out on top in the argument. Over and over again we face situations in life that we cannot prevail over by willpower alone. But there are better ways of mastering life’s exchanges and mental conflicts than by going on the offensive. Indirect methods often succeed where direct confrontation fails. Try clearly registering the disruption in communication, but only on the surface. That is to say without becoming engrossed in detail or emotional stabbing. By not provoking a debate, those who attack are drained of their energy for continued rudeness. Treat fools with the indifferent civility of a gentleman. Presence of mind is thus not a passive force, but actually a very good opportunity to influence the course of a meeting. It keeps the senses alert and alertness is indispensable in all goals-oriented activi-
ties. But it is the restraining force in presence of mind that is really interesting. Presence of mind offers peace of mind, a capacity to divert impulsive actions and apply the brakes. It also stems hasty conclusions and provides space for observation and reflection prior to making a judgement, and it chills emotion in thoughts, speech and actions. Remain calm, come to a halt, take a break and wind down is what we normally associate with the restraining effect of presence of mind. A Chinese proverb says “To get things to cease, or to get things to arise there is nothing better than remaining calm”. Or in modern terms: be cool. There are plenty of times in our lives when a moment of reflection would have prevented a mistake and a long line of unfortunate circumstances brought about by one moment of thoughtlessness. But how do we restrain our thoughtless reactions and replace them with moments of mental presence and reflection? Managing this is almost totally dependent on our ability to bring things to a halt by applying the brakes at the right moment. We can learn this step by step by training undivided attention. The spontaneous reactions that often stand in the way of a direct insight are a product of habit. The damaging effect of habitual reactions show up in what could be termed “force of habit”, the anaesthetic, apathetic and repressing effect of which gives rise to habitual behaviour, the sort of behaviour that is behind many a poor meeting. At the same time, habit greatly simplifies our lives. It would be unbearable if all our daily activities had to be conducted with careful consideration and detailed attention. Try your hand at undivided attention at your next meeting. π
vinter. Foto Fredrik Broman.
In Luleå, we see life on the bright side - day and night! Visit us at www.luleacvb.se
The meetings of Swedish Lapland.
The average population density in Europe is 118 people per square kilometre. In Lapland it’s two. This creates meetings between people that are sought after and appreciated. There are many meeting places; choose from sociable and relaxed communication in unique surroundings, or modern conference facilities with the latest technology. Combine your next conference with memorable activities. Experience the fantastic archepelago or play golf with the midnight sun as your companion. Whatever your requirements, we promise that a meeting in Swedish Lapland will be something special. www.swedishlapland.com
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A BRAIN CHECK
Tomas Dalstrรถm PHOTOS
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“i’m an adrenalin abuser.
It has tagged along since I was a surgeon and it came in an ambulance with a badly injured patient. I get a kick and am highly charged with positive stress every time I hold a lecture. I go through the lecture mentally in advance just as I did prior to an operation. While my colleagues would prepare an operation, I would find a bed to lie on and go through the whole operation in my head,” says Nils Simonson, retired Chief Surgeon with the brain as his passion. What happens in the brain when we prepare ourselves mentally in this way? “The same parts of the brain activate when you think you’re doing something as when you actually are. When you visualise, that is to say see yourself in various situations, the body and mind prepares to fulfil that which you visualise. The nervous system finds it difficult to differentiate between a real situation and a visualised one. This is the explanation as to why visualisation can prepare your body to carry out that which you have visualised. The brain stores it and if you continue to train mentally you can use it as long as you want.” You are one of the most sought after lecturers in Sweden. Is your mental preparation one explanation? “Both my mental preparation and my other preparations go a long way to explaining how I’ve come this far. I prepare myself carefully and read up on everything. I try to create a good feeling around myself so that I appear secure. I’m in the premises an hour before the lecture begins. I begin my presentation and go around and check the image angles. I try to keep in with the technicians, who at this moment in time are more 2009 No 2 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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important than the company’s CEO. Things go quicker when you’re kind, as my father always said. He owned a local ICA store in Strömsund in the north of Sweden.” And then your audience enters the lecture hall. What do you do then? “I seek the energy from those who already have it when they enter the room. I look for those who look happy and laugh as they enter. Usually women around 41-43 years of age. They are secure and give their best and are usually accompanied by a friend. I check where they sit. I try to find three happy people in different parts of the audience and bounce what I say against them. This gives me energy through confirmation. I
that which you say – must have more dynamite. I save the presentation until the third image.” It sounds as though you work according to film dramaturgy. A film based on American dramaturgy always begins with an impact, followed by the film name and credits, then the presentation, conflict, in-depth view, etc. Is this the way you think? “Not directly, but probably implicitly. We’ve all seen such movies over the years and they’re probably not put together like that by chance.” Aristotle, who lived 300 years before our era, saw the potential in utilising the brain’s constant searching for familiar patterns. He
“When our forefathers met a lion on the savannah their bodies reacted with stress and for some reason I perceive you as a lion that’s going to attack me.” also try to avoid the sourpusses sitting with their arms folded. Women usually have the positive energy. Men go into their shells more.” How do you build up your lectures? “I see the lecture as a train. The locomotive and last carriage are always the same, then I fill it up with content tailored to the day’s lecture. I have a thousand images to choose from. I’ve worked very hard with the introduction in order to attract the audience’s attention. At the Speakers’ Forum in Atlanta they say you have three seconds to do that. I’ve also seen ten seconds, but the point is you don’t have long! You must try to attract attention and you will fail if you begin by thanking them for coming or by presenting yourself. The locomotive – the first image and MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 2 2009
created dramaturgy to describe how to build up a narrative in a meaningful way so as to allow the audience’s brains to follow the plot. “Yes, man was wise even back then, and the knowledge that the brain is adapted to seek similarities is crucial if I am to keep the audience interested. Then as now.” Do you use the Rhetoric Triangle? “Yes, when on stage I emanate from the three cornerstones of rhetoric: I have to teach the audience something, amuse them and touch them. I have to take the step directly from one to the other and know more or less where I stand.” How do you use images in your presentation? “I try to utilise the element of surprise. I have a picture of my young-
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est grandchild and ask whether it’s hereditary or upbringing that makes us what we are, as adults. Keywords like hereditary, mother’s pregnancy, mother’s illnesses during pregnancy etc. arise. Versatile entertainer Hasse Alfredson sings in the background “do you think the children will ever…” and concludes with “over a glass of beer” and then I press a key and a large glass of beer falls into the picture. The illusion is broken. First the audience get tears in their eyes when thinking of their own children and grandchildren. I say nothing as the man sings, then the beer glass arrives followed by laughter.” Are there any limitations to your images, considering how the brain works? “You should only have four or five key words for each image. And then they should not act as a reminder for the person speaking, but live their own life because the brain is 70 per cent developed to read images. It is only during the past 400,000 years of our five million year development that we have had the ability to think in symbols and only the past four thousand years that we had some form of written language. In a previous number of Meetings International I wrote about PowerPoint. John Sweller, Professor of Education at New South Wales University, Australia, maintains that the brain finds it difficult to process new information that comes in written and spoken form at the same time. We can only use one sense at a time. When we listen and look the brain has to constantly shift between seeing and hearing, which it doesn’t manage. “That’s correct. I don’t use PowerPoint but Mac and Keynote, which is more elegant. And I never read text that comes with the picture, I’m then quiet. There’s no point in reading for those who can read themselves. I talk about the picture.” 2009 No 2 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
94 | A BRAIN CHECK
I once read about a speaker who had special stage clothes that he always changed into. He was then transformed into The Lecturer. “I don’t want to be anybody else that the person I am at home. I want to dissimilate myself as little as possible. One danger with that is that I begin talking and say something stupid. But then I say that it wasn’t quite how I meant it to sound.” You use a lot of humour during your lectures, but not everything can be fun. “I was too fat to play football so to compensate I became the one who made everybody laugh, and it’s continued that way. I’ve noticed that those who don’t dare to test humour are usually envious of me. I was at a lecture yesterday where the CEO held a brilliant lecture with elegant deduction, but he couldn’t make people laugh. He became a trifle jealous of me when I took over the stage because he would also like to be funny, but I’d love to be as brilliant and elegant as he is. We can’t have everything. You must try to tune the string you have so that it works well and then you play quite well on the other strings.” You use humour because it’s your best string? “That’s right. And then I think we should poke fun at ourselves a bit more. I usually say that I look like a clone because I have no right to pull somebody’s leg if I can’t make fun of myself. It’s an unwritten law of edutainment, which is what I do.” Are there any limits for what you can say? “As a speaker you can be personal but not private. I can take my family, for example, and talk about myself but there are clear limits, things that people don’t want to hear. It could become embarrassing. Should my wife or children not like it then it’s private. I can begin a lecture by sayMEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 2 2009
ing that before I left I got a big kiss from my wife and she said: “I hope it goes well. I can’t understand why you’re nervous for this audience.” This is personal but not private. It’s private for me because I’ve been nervous about meeting them, but that doesn’t bother them. They become more generous if anything.” What happens in the body and brain when I stand in front of an audience wishing I was somewhere else? “When I suffer from that I say: you now see an example of stress. For one or the other reason I have perceived this situation as a threat to me. When our forefathers met a lion on the savannah their bodies reacted with stress and for some reason I perceive you as a lion that’s going to attack me. What happens in the body at that moment? The body has an ancient survival instinct that is pure genius. All the blood moves from the digestive system to the muscles and movement organs providing more energy to run or fight. The skin goes white, the blood is drawn into the skin. If the lion claws me I won’t bleed as easily and the blood does more good in the muscles. Breathing and pulse increases. Men’s testicles are pulled into the body. The same thing happens to the hands when you’re standing on stage. We’re talking about 300 year-old programming that all animals have and it’s a smart programme — when you’re threatened. When you ask people what they’re most afraid of, snakes and fire are not top of the list. The thing we’re most afraid of is to stand in front of people and become speechless, which is what I’ve just done. I usually continue: why is that glass of water standing there? Because when I’m stressed the blood moves from the mouth, which is part of the digestive system, to the muscles.
This is the simple explanation to why saliva secretion reduces and I have to drink some water. People have a great understanding for this but don’t believe that I am stressed because I seem so calm. I calm down after this self hypnosis and can laugh at it. I sometimes feel that way, but talking about it solves the problem at the same time as they receive some relevant information.” Where is your audience mentally when you begin? “It’s much easier if they’ve come to an event just to listen to me. It’s more difficult if it’s a 2-day conference and I come on to lecture near the end. The audience are then thinking: he’ll be finished in a couple of hours then I can go home. We only have to sit through this as the boss has planned. My starting point is always to expect a negative attitude. If I expect low expectations I can make the effort to wake them up and get them to think that my lecture was like an After Eight after a pleasant meeting. They hire me to be that After Eight so they can forget the tough steak served by the Head of Finance and the half boiled potatoes from the CEO. That’s why I call myself an edutainer.” What do you do if you meet an audience that doesn’t like you? “If I notice that they are hostile, I give them a straight lecture. I don’t act out if I don’t get a response. I endeavour to be more precise in my formulations, refer to more books and to be more correct in my appearance. I go into my shell and deliver a good formal lecture. That’s human.” What should those who are not humorists, and perhaps a little uncertain, do to attract the attention of the audience and get them to absorb the information? “Simplify things as far it goes, but no further. It reminds me of the old cliché: tell them what you are going
“As a speaker you can be personal but not private.”
2009 No 2 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
A BRAIN CHECK | 97
to say, say it, summarise, thank them for listening and go and sit down. This works and you train the art of public speaking. There is divine justice in those who train step by step becoming better and better. The more you hit a forehand the better you become. Those who are good at something prepare carefully, think through what they’re going to do, they’ve put a lot of responsibility into what they’re going to do and they do it. The more you repeat it the better you become. The way the brain functions, you cannot avoid becoming better if you do something over and over again.” You’re a surgeon. What aroused your interest in this field of brain research? “While I was waiting for an operation to start one day I noticed a book entitled The Pathology of Leadership. I read it and became
interested. I remember thinking what a strange organ that must be that gets us flipping between joy and sorrow and from sorrow to joy. And how strange that our attitude possible plays a greater role in our general health that what we doctors can achieve. I began to wonder about when the brain lifted us development-wise, from thinking of food and water and so on, to begin thinking of abstract things such as what happens after death. And how the brain helped our forefathers to realise that they could carry out certain activities if they cooperated, that they could do certain things if they were a hundred people helping each other instead.” You’ve written books about the brain and lecture on the subject. “I’ve published five books of light hearted causeries about what I talk about. Hjärngänget (The Dream
Team) from 2008 is the latest and I lecture 100-120 times a year. Is it difficult to keep the fervour and curiosity alive in your lectures? “I change some of the material to satisfy my own curiosity. When I can say I saw this last night the audience sees that I’m committed through my body language.” What fascinates you most about the wonderful world of the brain? “There is naturally a great deal. I’m a dyslectic and have therefore developed my verbal skills more. I usually say that I’m a chatterbox. Something that fascinates me is when I say, for example, the word ‘now’ I don’t know which word will come out. But the brain has prepared everything and out of the mouth comes something connected and is comprehensible. That’s amazing.” π
tomas dalström is an author, journalist, lecturer and innovator. His works include a popular book on writing texts, which communicates on the brain’s terms. The reading process and the brain is the starting point in his business activities. 2009 No 2 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
98 | KELLERMAN
TURN THE POLITICIANS FORUM AT IMEX INTO THE DAVOS
of the meetings industry so, another leap forward will
be taken in developing the meetings and event industry when we meet at IMEX in Frankfurt in May. Seventy seminars, Association Day, Politicians Forum, Women’s Forum, Future Leaders Forum and IMEX Awards are all part and parcel of the constant skills enhancement and will to improve that keeps the meetings and event industry on the steady road to progress. Our 2009 Swedish Trend Report shows a definite trend in the political awakening to our industry. For almost one and a half years we have sent the Swedish edition of Meetings International to all Swedish MPs (350 in all) and to the leading politicians in the ten largest cities. The same politicians have also received our weekly electronic newsletter. Of course they can say: “No thanks, I don’t want it,” but remarkably few have. There are still 321 MPs who want the magazine. We can also see that the efforts to raise leading politicians’ awareness of the meetings and event industry has led to a change in language use in parliament. The term visitor industry is falling by the wayside in favour of tourism, business tourism and the meetings and event industry. This is a vital step. We can understand each other much better if we speak the same language. Every summer for the past 40 years a large political manifestation – the Almedal Politics Week – has taken place on the holiday island of Gotland just off the Swedish east MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 2 2009
coast. For an entire week the Medieval town of Visby simmers with seminars, debates, networking, press conferences and events from just about any organisation that wishes to play a part in influencing developments from a political perspective. All Swedish media bar none are in place to cover the event. Political leaders and officials, representatives of interest organisations, companies, the media and the general public all mingle in this informal setting. Last year, 662 events took place organised by 350 players, and 362 journalists were accredited. MPI Chapter Sweden and Meetings International have held a popular seminar for the past two years on the subject of developing the Swedish meetings industry, chiefly through congresses and large events. This year, Meetings@Almedalen, as it is called, focuses on a special political example. The university town of Lund (university since the 17th century) will soon be home to a large research institute (ESS), which, when completed, will employ somewhere in the region of 6,000 scientists. The question is: what does this generate in the way of new meetings, congresses and events? What can Lund do to prepare for the likelihood of so many different types of meetings? What do all the meetings entail for Lund as a destination? What significance does the meetings and event industry have in the total development of a destination? Exciting issues for any destination, and we know that if we who
roger kellerman is a publisher, business intelligence analyst, trend creator, educator and networker. He has more than 25 years’ experience of the global meeting industry.
work in the meetings industry do not pursue these issues then nobody else will do it for us. We therefore hope that the Politicians Forum at IMEX is upgraded to become the Davos of the meetings industry. We must ensure that influential politicians visit Frankfurt and upgrade the Politicians Forum. Start, for example, with Turkey’s culture and tourism minister Ertuğrul Gülnay and Australia’s tourism minister Martin Ferguson, a couple of pioneers with long-term strategic goals to be fulfilled by 2020-2025. Once we open the door to influential politicians, other important people soon follow in their footsteps. We will then be getting more surveys like the one Canada recently conducted. When that stage has been reached, more countries with ensure that things get moving in other countries with regard to the development of the meetings and event industry as the propellant force in the future perspective of tourism. We have to get there, and we will. The only question is will it be Frankfurt or somewhere else. The Politicians Forum is the platform so let’s up a gear in content and tempo. π
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